Islamic law permits the possession of concubines, or sex slaves. This has been demonstrated countless times, including through Islamic clerics quoting Islamic scriptures, and through ordinary Muslims, past and present, acting on it.
That said, Islamic sanctioned sex-slavery does not perturb the Western world simply because the powers-that-be-specifically academia, media, and government-ignore it, and all other unsavory phenomena associated with Islam, out of existence.
Interesting, therefore, are the responses from the authorities-comical one might even say-when one of these everyday anecdotes actually does surface to the general public.
Enter the recent abduction of nearly 300, mostly Christian, teenage schoolgirls in Nigeria at the hands of Boko Haram, yet another Islamic terrorist organization plaguing mankind. As expected, the group justified its actions in Islamic terms, with its leader declaring on video, "I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah….There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell."
Of course, for those in the know, none of this is surprising. In March 2012, Boko Haram warned that it would do just this, declaring that it was preparing to "strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women."
Moreover, of all the human rights abuses I catalog in Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians-and these are depressingly many-Boko Haram's has resulted in more Christians killed than in the rest of the world combined.
The group has bombed or burned hundreds of Christian churches in the last several years, most when packed for service, including on Christmas Day and Easter Day, leaving countless worshippers dead or dismembered. In its bid to cleanse northern Nigeria of all Christian presence-a repeatedly stated goal-it has threatened to poison the food eaten by Christians and stormed areas where Christians and Muslims were intermingled, singling the Christians out before slitting their throats.
Go to my monthly "Muslim Persecution of Christians" series (currently 31 in all), and see the innumerable atrocities that Boko Haram has been responsible for in the last two-and-a-half years-many of which make the recent Nigerian girls' abduction pale in comparison.
The real news here is that the so-called mainstream media, which generally downplays or ignores Boko Haram's terror campaign (see here for example), actually reported on this particular atrocity, prompting both Western and Muslim authorities-who are much more accustomed to, and comfortable with, pretending these sorts of things don't exist-to respond in awkward, hypocritical and, in a word, foolish, ways. Thus,
Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. had been in touch with Nigeria "from day one" of the crisis. But repeated offers of U.S. assistance were ignored until Kerry got on the phone Tuesday with [Nigerian president] Jonathan amid growing international concern and outrage over the fate of the girls in the weeks since their abduction…. "I think now the complications that have arisen have convinced everybody that there needs to be a greater effort," Kerry said at a State Department news conference. "And it will begin immediately. I mean, literally, immediately."
"Convinced everybody"? Is Kerry referring to himself? After all, there might not have been any need for "greater effort," the need to act "immediately. I mean, literally, immediately" had Kerry only let the Nigerian president and government do their job one year ago, when they were waging a particularly strong offensive against Boko Haram in the very same region that the schoolgirls were recently kidnapped.
Back then, in May 2013, soon after Nigerian forces killed 30 Boko Haram members, Reuters reported that "U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a strongly worded statement [to the Nigerian president] saying: "We are … deeply concerned by credible allegations that Nigerian security forces are committing gross human rights violations, which, in turn, only escalate the violence and fuel extremism" from Boko Haram.
Perhaps this sheds more light on why "repeated offers of U.S. assistance [regarding the kidnapped girls] were ignored" by Nigeria, "until Kerry got on the phone" (whatever that means).
As for Kerry's predecessor, Hillary Clinton, who is now bemoaning the lot of the kidnapped girls in Nigeria-saying it's "abominable, it's criminal, it's an act of terrorism and it really merits the fullest response possible"-when she was Secretary of State, and in a position to help offer "the fullest response possible" she repeatedly refused to designate Boko Haram as a "foreign terrorist organizations," despite the countless atrocities it had already committed, despite the fact that it had boasted it would "strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women," as it just has, and despite urging from the CIA, FBI, Justice Department, and several congressmen and senators.
Her logic was once voiced by her husband, former U.S. president Bill Clinton. Back in February 2012, in a speech in Nigeria, Clinton declared that "inequality" and "poverty" are "what's fueling all this stuff"-a reference to Boko Haram's terror-and warned the government that "It is almost impossible to cure a problem based on violence with violence"-a precursor to Kerry's May 2013 condemnation of the Nigerian government's tough offensive against Boko Haram, which would supposedly "only escalate the violence and fuel extremism."
In short, just like the Obama administration has been a thorn in Egypt's war with the Muslim Brotherhood, so too has it been a thorn in Nigeria's war with Boko Haram-despite all its current handwringing and "outrage" over this latest-that is, known-atrocity.
As for the "Islam" aspect of Boko Haram's violence and Christian persecution, needless to say the Obama administration rejects it outright. Thus, after the 2012 Easter Day church bombings by Boko Haram that killed dozens of worshippers, U.S. Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson was quick to insist that "religion is not driving extremist violence"-or, in the aforementioned words of Bill Clinton, "inequality" and "poverty" are "what's fueling all this stuff."
Still, because this latest kidnapping anecdote has received sufficient media attention, including in the Arab and Muslim worlds, some Muslim leaders have been forced out of their comfort zone to respond.
Thus, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayib, the Grand Sheikh of Egypt's Al Azhar-regularly touted as the Muslim world's most prestigious institution of Islamic learning-was quick to condemn Boko Haram's actions of kidnapping and selling "infidel" women, saying, "these actions have no connection to the tolerant and noble teachings of Islam."
As for Egypt's minister of endowments, Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar al-Gum'a, he too released a statement saying that "the terrorist deeds of Boko Haram have nothing to do with Islam, especially this latest deed of kidnapping girls. Instead, they are terroristic, criminal actions, and Islam is clean of them." He then went into White House spokesperson mode, saying that poverty, economics, and the rest were the true motivators for Boko Haram's savagery.
One can sympathize with Egypt's state sheikhs-after all, they are busy fighting their own brand of Islam misunderstanders, the Muslim Brotherhood and their fellow ideologues, who have been abducting male Coptic Christians for ransom and females for sexual abuse, slavery, and/or conversion to Islam.
Happily for these moderate clerics, few are openly challenging their assertions that Islam is clean of Boko Haram's actions. Based on precedent, they often have no response and can become hostile.
For example, some years back, when Sheikh Gamal Qutb, a one-time Grand Mufti of Al Azhar, was asked on live Arabic-language TV if Islam permits sex slaves, he refused to give a direct answer, preferring to prevaricate. When pressed for a clear answer by the Muslim female host, he became hostile and stormed off the set. He eventually returned, only to be implored again by the host, who said, "Ninety percent of Muslims, including myself, do not understand the issue of sex slavery in Islam and are having a hard time swallowing it," to which he gruffly responded, "You don't need to understand!"
And there you have it. From Obama administration officials who helped empower Nigeria's Islamic terrorists, only to wring their hands and feign outrage at their behavior, to Islamic clerics who confidently dispel accusations against Islam, only to put their heads in the sand and hope no one calls them out-here is just a small example of what officialdom would have to deal with if the full totality of crimes committed in the name of Islam were to become common knowledge.
Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians (Regnery, April, 2013) is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.