The abduction three weeks ago of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria by the Muslim extremist group Boko Haram is now generating worldwide attention and condemnation. Muslim leaders in various countries have criticized Boko Haram's leader for using Islamic teachings as his justification for threatening to sell the girls into slavery. Others have focused on what they view as a slow response by Nigeria's government to the crisis. The British and French governments announced Wednesday that they would send teams of experts to complement the U.S. team heading to Nigeria to help with the search for the girls, and Nigeria's president said China has also offered assistance.
Some of the reactions to the crisis:
— EGYPT: Religious Endowments Minister Mohammed Mohktar Gomaa said "the actions by Boko Haram are pure terrorism, with no relation to Islam, especially the kidnapping of the girls."
Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb of the Cairo-based Al-Azhar, one of Sunni Islam's most prestigious institutions, said the abductions "completely contradict Islam and its principles of tolerance."
— PAKISTAN: Dawn, an English language newspaper, published an opinion piece that takes Nigeria to task for not moving against Boko Haram. "The popular upsurge in Nigeria in the wake of the latest unspeakable atrocity provides some scope for hoping that the state will finally act decisively to obliterate the growing menace," wrote columnist Mahir Ali.
— INDONESIA: In the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, the Jakarta Post published an editorial Wednesday condemning the Boko Haram leader for "wrongly" citing Islamic teaching as his excuse for selling the abducted girls into slavery. Recalling the Taliban's shooting of 15-year-old Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai in 2012 because of her outspokenness in defense of girls' right to an education, the editorial said: "Malala's message needs to be conveyed to all people who use their power to block children's access to education. It is saddening that religion is misused to terrorize people and to kill the future leaders of the world."