Boko Haram, the terrorist group that has torn up communities all over northern Nigeria, not to mention Cameroon, Niger and Chad, has been making more headlines recently.
This coming week includes the Oct. 15 deadline they have given for the Nigerian government to meet certain demands before they execute Leah Sharibu, a 15-year-old girl who was one of dozens of female students captured in February by Boko Haram. All the girls were released except her, mainly because she refused to give up her Christian beliefs as a condition for her release. She’s since become an international cause celebré, the subject of a book and potential Christian martyr.
At the same time, BBC has released a gorgeously produced piece on what life is like for the girls who are forced to become suicide bombers after being captured by Boko Haram. What we learn from the narrative is that poorly educated girls are imprisoned for months while being inundated with teachings from the Quran, then talked into getting a fast track to heaven by becoming a martyr to the cause.
I’ll begin first with the BBC piece, then cut back to Leah’s case. The former is headlined: “Made up to be beautiful: Sent out to die.”
Falmata is getting a full beauty treatment – a thick paste of henna, with its delicate pointed swirls, adorning her feet.
While it dries, a woman is batting with her hair. Comb in hard, she is stretching and straightening Falmata’s tight curls.
“We were allowed to choose any style for the hair and the henna,” remembers Falmata … (who) knows she’s going to look beautiful. But there’s a deadly consequence.
Once she’s made up, a suicide bomb will be attached to her waist.
So, these girls are being brainwashed into thinking they’re “marrying” martyrdom. She was told that if she killed non-believers, she’d go straight to paradise.