Reform Jewish Community Horrified by Kidnapping of Schoolgirls in Nigeria by Militant Group
Rabbi Saperstein: “The depravity of the recent mass abduction, and the public claims made by Boko Haram’s leader that the girls will be sold, reaches new depths of inhumanity. That these attacks have been carried out in the name of religion makes them even more troubling.”
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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 8, 2014— In response to more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria being kidnapped by Boko Haram, a terrorist organization operating in Nigeria, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
We join millions around the world in expressing our horror and condemnation at the abduction of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by the militant group Boko Haram. This is just the most recent of the many violent acts Boko Haram has perpetrated in recent years, including attacks on schools, churches, and mosques whose clerics have spoken out against religious extremism. The depravity of the recent mass abduction, and the public claims made by Boko Haram’s leader that the girls will be sold, reaches new depths of inhumanity. That these attacks have been carried out in the name of religion makes them even more troubling.
Acts of violence committed in the name of religion reflect the basest instincts of humanity and remind us that religious intolerance remains a threat to peace and stability around the world today. The great medieval Jewish scholar Maimonides teaches us that “There is no greater mitzvah than redeeming the captive, for the problems of the captive include being hungry, thirsty, unclothed, and they are in danger of their lives too.” Today, we are acutely aware of our obligation to help redeem the captives.
We call on Boko Haram to release their captives unharmed; we urge all people and nations of conscience to do whatever possible to secure the girls’ release; and we continue to pray for their well-being and freedom.