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Friday, May 9, 2014

Mark Durie on the Glazov Gang - Islam’s Role in Boko Haram’s Kidnapping of Schoolgirls

Here is my recent appearance on the Glazov Gang: 

In the interview I suffered a slip of the tongue and at one point said that Islam permits a man to have five wives. Of course the correct limit for the number of wives is four!

Also, when I referred to Islam permitting sex with young girls (for example the kidnapped Nigerian school girls), I was speaking of the legitimacy, according to many Islamic scholars, for men to marry girls as young as nine, following the example of Muhammad when he married Aisha (see Sahih Bukhari, Book 58, Hadith number 236).  Of course there are Muslims who disagree with following this path, but many leading Muslims in Nigeria support child marriages of girls, see here.

Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, is considered by his followers to be a religious scholar, and he certainly would not be selling girls in the marketplace and marrying them off unless he considered this was permitted by his religion.  One may or may not disagree with his conclusions, but it is beyond dispute that he is sincere in his beliefs and these beliefs are what guides his group’s actions.  It is also clear what theological authority he relies on for these beliefs and actions, namely the Sunna, or example and teaching of Muhammad.  His organization’s commitment to following the Sunna is expressed in their official name. For a  discussion of this and the popular name for this group, Boko Haram, visit this earlier post, where I explain that:
Their official Arabic name ... means 'A Group of People of the Sunna (the example and teaching of Muhammad) for Da'wa (proclamation or Islamization) and Jihad'.  The Boko Haram nick-name for the group refers to their objection to the Latin alphabet, which has become dominant in Nigerian education, including for writing Hausa:  the Hausa word boko (from English book) refers to the Latin alphabet.  It can also refer more generally to non-religious education.  The Arabic word haram means a 'forbidden' or 'prohibited' practice according to Islam.  So the phrase boko haram could mean 'secular learning is prohibited for Muslims'.


  1. Excellent interview

  2. Dear Dr Durie,

    Enjoyed learning from the interview.


    You say that the violent passages in the Koran ("... fight them until there is no more Fitnah ...") abrogate the peaceful passages (... "no compulsion in religion ...").

    But also, that in Islam it's okay to be nice to unbelievers (non-Muslims) when Islam is in a weak or vulnerable position.

    If the violent passage has replaced the peaceful passage, shouldn't it be followed, regardless of whether Islam is in a strong or in a weak position?


    1. Hi Prodos. Good Question. There are at least two views about abrogation. One is that the violent verses cancel the peaceful verses. The other is that all the verses apply, but according to the context. Sheikh Al-Bouti of Syria held this view. He wrote that Muslims could follow peaceful coexistence, defensive jihad, or aggressive jihad: "…all three of the above mentioned approaches to the practice of jihad are equally legitimate, provided that none of them be applied unless it is required by the Muslim community’s current interests…" It Muslim's situation is like that of Muhammad in Mecca, peaceful coexistence is the go. If however Muslims are dominant, they should pursue aggressive jihad, etc.

    2. Dear Dr Durie,

      Thanks for the clarification. I see. Interesting.

      So if the context is like the situation in Mecca: as per the example of Mohammed -- there is peaceful coexistence.

      But if the context is like -- or becomes like -- the situation in Medina: as per the example of Mohammed -- there is war.

      "Coexistence" means that the followers of Islam "coexist" with the followers of other Religions.

      But once the context changes and War has become justified, there is never a willing return to coexistence.

      The context can change in a way that justifies Islam going from coexistence to war.

      But the context can never change in a way that justifies Islam going from war to coexistence.

      There is no situation in which Islam possesses the power to impose itself, yet does not.

      (Dhimmitude is not "coexistence" in the Meccan sense.)

      Any return to "coexistence" and the peaceful verses can not come from Islam's success.

      It can only come if it is imposed on Islam's followers by a stronger, non-Islamic force who then permit the followers of Islam to "coexist" with them.

      Islam itself never willingly or happily offers "coexistence".

      Would that be correct?


    3. Dear Prodos. What you say is correct. There is a tradition of Muhammad which states that a believer should use the highest available level of force to prevent wrong-doing - if only thinking, then they should reject evil with their thoughts, if speaking then they should speak, and if they can use their hand (i.e. force) they should do so. This is the view of many commentators and jurists: that dominance is the preferred policy if it is available.

  3. Dear Dr. Durie,
    Thank you for your service to humanity in standing for the truth and explaining in simple terms what the ramifications of Sharia law are. Where it has been implemented the entire culture and society have worsened. I very much appreciate your stand for truth.


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