Atta20-4[1]Boko Haram took over 250 Nigerian school girls simply because they could, says Nigerian author and playwright Sefi Atta in an op-ed piece for Time. She blames the group’s brazenness on sharia laws.

Sharia law – a group of acceptable Islamic moral codes and laws according to Allah  – is a state right and applies mainly to Nigerian civil cases, but it has been adopted by nine northern Nigerian states to include criminal cases. Atta writes it’s especially unfavorable toward women, imposing punishments such as floggings, hand amputations, and stonings.

Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, declares the group is merely following Allah’s order. But kidnapping is a criminal offense that should’ve been handled by state authorities and wasn’t. Atta points out how states are quick to prosecute women for adultery and other sharia-related crimes, yet incredibly slow to respond when the girls are victims of crimes.

She finally argues that adopting sharia laws creates a legal climate where terrorists like Boko Haram believes they have the right to do what they want with women without prosecution.

Read Sefi Atta’s piece in its entirety here.




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