By Brenda Robinson
There once was a black family in Kentucky who defied the norm in terms of intellect. The family head was a single mom, high school dropout, rearing two sons and earning whatever the minimum wage was in the 1960s. The children were victims of educational deprivation, due to the racism, prejudice and funding neglect of segregated black schools. However, the mother supplemented her boys’ education by introducing them to the classics, Greek philosophers, Italian painters and African history. One son attended Harvard Law School and several weeks from graduation he dropped out, stating he was leaving to seek the answer to the universe. After several months of studying world religions and the works of great philosophers, this young man concluded, “the answer is, there is no answer.”
The sad, uncalled for abduction of Nigerian girls is a reminder of the portrayed above story. After centuries of religious wars, conflict
Let’s examine this deplorable kidnapping in the name of Allah. On April 15, a terrorist group known as Boko Haram, which literarily translates, Western education is sinful, abducted 300 girls from a Chibok boarding school; 276 remain in captivity and 53 escaped during the kidnapping. World pressure and governmental collaborative efforts hopefully will lead to the girls’ rescue. The Barack Obama administration will send assistance which includes law enforcement, military and other agencies. The United Kingdom, Canada, China and France will provide support. There are protests from around the world. The international community is heartbroken and outraged. What a horrific experience for these girls, their families and Nigerians.
However, the crux of the problem will still remain. How does the world stop this senseless hostility in the name of religion? Islamic terrorist, within the past four years, have killed innocent people, by attacking individuals in churches, the military, wedding ceremonies, on highways and in public gathering places. And, since that terrible April 15 abduction, Islamic terrorists have attacked a Nigerian shopping area, killing 300 people.
These Nigerian girls were merely seeking to be educated. Yet, militant terrorists believe Allah is not pleased with females who are educated. Similar sentiments are historical. Biblical scholars are familiar with the King James Version of religious conflicts. In recent times, since the 20th century, Israeli-Palestinian ongoing conflicts, the Yugoslav wars, the Syrian civil wars, and the Nigerian Sharia conflict are among those countries who have battled, through their legitimate governmental forces and illegitimate terrorists. Gratefully, America no longer justifies senseless mistreatment and murdering on biblical rationale. However, America’s slate is not clean. Slavery was condoned on biblical text.
Granted, these Islamic attacks are carried out by extremist, not mainstream worshippers. However, even most mainstream worshippers of all faiths and beliefs have intolerant attitudes toward other believers. And, here within lies the problem. Mainstream religions, in non-violent ways, teach parishioners to disrespect other teachings. This process takes place when religious leaders proclaim our faith is the only legitimate faith. These sentiments set the tone for calling those with different beliefs heathens. What an insult. In addition, a tone is set for hostility toward those who are name-calling. This hostility is manifested in many forms—from discrimination in the workplace to bombings and kidnappings.
There are no excuses for violence, but there are reasons. And, one of the reasons is religious intolerance. Religious wars and attacks are older than Christianity. King James of England commissioned men of numerous professions (Puritans, Anglican churchmen, linguists, theologians, laymen and divines) to convert a number of different texts into an agreed upon Bible. Other leaders also used similar approaches. Don’t all of us owe mankind the assumption that all world religions have some truth and some fallacies?
The world (many religions) are praying that the Nigerian girls will be found and safely returned to their homes. If this occurs, we must assume all prayers were heard, not the prayers of one particular religious sect. Until an inclusion mindset becomes reality, the answer to these terrible crimes is there is no answer.