WE THE PEOPLE: Bring back our girls

Mayor De Blasio fashioned a historic agreement with the UFT that settled the employment contract with teachers for many years to come. The offer is fair and affordable for the city because the negotiating team for the UFT led by President Michael Mulgrew found enough savings and allowed the city to pay teachers retroactive raises in the future over four years. The accounting is complicated but the important information is that teachers get the raises owed to them as well as steady increases to keep pace with the cost of living. The DOE and UFT can now concentrate on the job of educating our children instead of fighting over a contract.

The young boy shot in the eye by a gun wielding criminal in East Flatbush continues a remarkable recovery. The federal government and a newly “activist” Supreme Court may be able to fashion sensible and Constitutional rules for gun ownership and gun sales that will make it more difficult for criminals and maniacs from obtaining them. The Supreme Court recently found that opening a government meeting with a Christian prayer is not an unconstitutional intrusion of religion prohibited by the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. (Town of Greece v. Galloway) Who knows, maybe the Supreme Court can make ground breaking decisions that change the rules concerning criminal procedure and the right to bear arms, too?

In Nigeria the saga of the hundreds of kidnaped girls is unresolved. The United States is providing assistance, as it should, in the hunt for the girls. The group Boko Haram has seized the girls and has promised to enslave or kill them if their demands are not met. This violent and militant group is usually referred to as Boko Haram (loosely translated, it means Western teaching is a sin) but the real name of the group is Jama’at ahl sunna li da’wa wal-Jihad (people committed to the teachings of the Prophet and holy war). It seems that most of the reports about the group downplay its purported religious purpose. A report by Al Jazeera News stated that “it is almost impossible to separate the activities of the group with … struggles in northern Nigeria”. “The group purportedly changed tactics … after its leader Mohammed Yusuf was killed in police custody in 2009[.]”

Al Jazeera prefers the less threatening “Boko Haram” in its report and highlighted that the group attacks Christians but the attacks have produced more Muslim casualties. The report is indirectly defending the group despite its actions. The report fails to denounce the fact that this group is using religion to justify violence. When evil is done in the name of any religion it cannot be tolerated and should be denounced.

Dean Obeidallah of The Daily Beast penned an article: “The Boko Haram Terrorists are not Islamic” In it he denounced the media as much as he denounced the group. He stated the mainstream media has been grossly irresponsible by describing the terrorist group as “Islamists.” He hates the fact that the media repeats the question, “Why don’t we see Muslims denounce terrorism?” He quotes leaders of Muslim organizations that have denounced the kidnappings. Those comments may have been under reported by the mainstream media but we cannot ignore that religious fanaticism has once again been used to motivate people to do wrong. Mr. Obeidallah and other journalists would better serve the public by describing how hate groups use religion to justify wrongful actions. There will always be groups that are willing to use religion and twist its message to further an agenda. The media must point out when that is happening.

The United States is offering assistance for the rescue and recovery of the kidnaped girls. The plight of these innocent young girls cries out for all the good peoples of the world to come together and help return these girls to their families. We must show whenever it appears that the world community will not condone human right violations or violence or we will be doomed to experience it again.

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