Global faiths community condemns attacks on education in Nigeria

Chibok girls, Safe schools

The Boko Haram militants who shocked the world by abducting more than 270 schoolgirls in Nigeria claim to have acted in the name of Islam.

That is why is so important that religious leaders have been vocal in their condemnation of the group, its terrorist activities and its continued attacks against education.

Muslim leaders and organisations have been active in denouncing the contrived notions of Islam behind the grotesque actions of Boko Haram, who have threatened to sell the schoolgirls into sex slavery. Pope Francis also joined the movement to bring the girls home safe by tweeting to demand their release and Archbishop Desmond Tutu is set to take part in the June 16th observance of Day of the African Child, to be held in support of the Nigerian schoolgirls and the movement to make education safe for all.

Over the last week, members of the Global Faiths Coalition for Education (GFC Education) – including Muslim Aid, the Islamic Society of North America, Arigatou International, World Evangelical Alliance, Episcopal Conference of Malawi, Tauheedul Charity and American Hindu World Service – have all endorsed separate statements confirming that:

“As part of the Global Faiths Coalition for Education (GFC Education), we condemn the attack on girls' education in northern Nigeria. We believe that education is a fundamental right and pledge to support efforts to end injustices against children, including forced marriage and discrimination against girls. We pledge to work collaboratively with the faiths community, governments and NGOs to achieve education for all.”

The kidnapping in northern Nigeria is one of an increasing number of violations of the right to education in Nigeria. Violent attacks against students and their families have become more common over recent months and hundreds of children have died – just because they went to school.

The campaign to #BringBackOurGirls has galvanised support for the missing girls of Chibok and sparked a long-term movement to secure the safety of education in Nigeria through the Safe Schools Initiative (#SafeSchools).

But to keep up the campaign's momentum and ensure all children are able to go to school in a secure environment, we must continue to raise our voices and enlist the active support of every community. And there is a long-term role for the global faiths community in making schools safe.

Launched in Abuja last week, the Safe Schools Initiative provides a practical plan to protect Nigerian schools from attacks by building community security groups and providing law enforcement to at-risk communities.

The initiative will begin with pilots in 500 villages in the north of Nigeria but aims to expand coverage to all at-risk areas.

To do this, the Safe Schools Initiative will need the support of the many faith-based organisations operating not only in Nigeria but around the world.

In collaboration with the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown and A World at School, the Global Faiths Coalition for Education will continue working to bring the girls of Chibok village home safely and provide the support needed to make the Safe Schools Initiative a reality.    

Here you can read some of the statements made by Coalition members on the situation in Nigeria:


Islamic Society of North America

World Evangelical Alliance

Episcopal Conference of Malawi

To learn more about the Global Faiths Coalition for Education and how your organisation can become a part of the movement to get every child into school and learning please contact [email protected]

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