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The Nigerian school with a radical idea: Teaching Boko Haram’s kids

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One morning in May, Zina Mustapha stood before her 20 students and wrote two mathematical problems on the whiteboard. “To solve these, you can use the coordinate formula or the vector formula,” she said.

As the teenagers chorused the formulas back at her, the scene could have been a typical high school in Nigeria. But the Future Prowess Islamic Foundation is unlike any other in Africa’s most populous country.

In the heartland of a war that has pitched the jihadist sect Boko Haram against the government, the private Quranic school has opened its doors to Muslim and Christian children of both insurgents and government soldiers, as well as those orphaned by both groups in the brutal conflict. Even as Boko Haram extremists raze and attack thousands of schools in the northeastern state of Borno, Zannah Mustapha, the school’s founder, preaches a different kind of radicalism: love for everyone.

Since 2002, Boko Haram has gunned down some 35,000 people and displaced 2 million in its battle to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria, and to abolish perceived Western education and influence. In 2009, the group attracted global attention when it began attacking state symbols like military posts and public schools. Five years later, insurgents abducted 276 girls from their school dormitory in a remote village called Chibok.

But some teachers continue to defy them.

“Education is … the right of every human being,” says Ms. Mustapha, readjusting her hijab. “With the gun, we can kill terrorists, but with education, we can kill terrorism.”

War on education

In 2009, around the time Boko Haram turned its sights on education, Fatima was due to start first grade. But her mother couldn’t afford it, and 6-year-old Fatima was wrestling with a crushing sense of guilt.

She believed she was responsible for her father’s death at the hands of the extremists.

Bukar, her father, left home every morning for the market where he was a trader and returned at night, never failing to bring some candy for Fatima. One evening, Fatima was disappointed he’d forgotten. “I ran to welcome him, only for him to remember that he had not bought me my favorite candy,” she recalls.

Her father stepped back outside, but Boko Haram was trailing him. “They shot him in his head,” Fatima says. “That was the end of my joy – he never came back.”

For years, Boko Haram had killed those who criticized its extremist views – including moderate Muslims like Bukar. When they targeted families, the insurgents sometimes killed the men and spared women and children, and sometimes murdered both parents. Today, thousands of orphaned and fatherless kids roam the streets of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, and refugee camps.

The loss plunged Fatima, her five siblings, and her mother – now a single housewife – into grief and destitution.

Then, in 2010, Fatima’s mother learned about a school offering free education to Muslim orphaned children affected by the insurgency. To Fatima’s great joy, the school was just a few miles away – walking distance – and her mother was able to sign her up.

“If I didn’t come to this school, maybe I would have been by the roadside hawking,” Fatima says.

 

FUTURE PROWESS IFS (@futureprowess) / Twitter

“Boko Haram lawyer”

For more than two decades, Mr. Mustapha, a towering man who favors the flowing robes of Egyptian jalabiyahs, was a sharia court lawyer in predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria, where such courts operate alongside a Western-style judiciary. In 2007, disturbed by the number of haggard-looking orphaned children begging on the streets of Maiduguri during school hours, he quit his job to start the foundation. It began as a single building of two classrooms, with 36 pupils and two teachers.

Shortly afterward, Boko Haram’s campaign against education escalated. The group, whose name means “Western education is forbidden” in northern Nigeria’s Hausa language, began detonating bombs and carrying out horrific shootings and assaults on schools. Rights watchers estimate the sect has destroyed or forced the closure of around 2,500 schools in the region, killed 611 teachers, and displaced 19,000 more.

The effect has been devastating in a region that is already Nigeria’s most impoverished. Borno state, which has only a 23% literacy rate, has seen the number of out-of-school children more than triple since 2008 to 1.8 million today.

All this only spurred Mr. Mustapha. After approaching private donors and international humanitarian organizations, he expanded to 40 classrooms spread over four separate community schools.

He also began accepting children who had lost parents due to the crisis – regardless of the side for which their parents had fought. The decision sparked criticism and rejection from some parents and community members.

“A lot of these Boko Haram elements were killed. Their wives and children were cast on the street. … Society considered them taboo,” says Mr. Mustapha.

“If I said I’m going to work on orphans, are [Boko Haram members’] children not orphans? Or are we going to [judge] them for the offense of their parents or husbands?”

And Mr. Mustapha’s compassion paid off. While Boko Haram targeted other schools in the state, forcing weekslong closures, it never attacked Mr. Mustapha’s. He was able to offer uninterrupted education to some 2,200 kids even at the height of the insurgency.

Avoiding discrimination

Among Fatima’s classmates is Nur, whose father was a soldier. Like her, Nur lost both his father and uncle after they were gunned down by Boko Haram. But at school, both children found a respite from tragedy – happily busy, they rarely had time to think of it, and some of their close friends include children whose fathers were in the sect.

It helps that Mr. Mustapha gives all incoming students psychosocial support before admission – part of that includes encouraging them to see and relate to themselves and each other with love and to avoid discrimination, he says.

But despite his effort to convince some to accept an inclusive approach, he still faces criticism. He says some whisper about his intentions, calling him “Boko Haram lawyer” – a reference to his role as a go-between in securing the release of 103 of the girls Boko Haram abducted in Chibok.

Still, he is undeterred. With support from the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mr. Mustapha also opened a center that trains widows in livelihood skills. Some of them are widows of Boko Haram members.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mustapha receives far more admission requests for his school than he has the capacity to handle. He wants to expand further, but doesn’t have the money.

His greatest pride, he says, comes from seeing the kids happy, especially girls who, as is often the case among impoverished families in northern Nigeria, would likely have been forced into child marriages to bring in a dowry. Instead, those at his school have a chance to chase their dreams.

“I want to become a nurse to help less privileged people, especially children and pregnant women,” says Fatima.

This article was produced with the support of the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, the John Templeton Foundation, and Templeton Religion Trust. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of these organizations.

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The APC, Independent National Electoral Commission, and 2023 election rigging

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President Buhari Sir, remember that you promised Nigerians free and fair election in 2023, but with the look of things today, Nigerians are no longer sure that the election will be free and fair. The reason is the weighty allegation by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) that your party All Progressive Congress (APC) criminally manipulated the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) machines in order to rig the election – in collaboration with some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The accusation has made every patriotic concerned citizen in Nigeria now a doubting Thomas. The potential danger of the accusation is too high a risk to be ignored. Sir, please reassure Nigerians by justifiably giving this issue the maximum attention it desires, and when ascertained, culprits quickly brought to book.

According to the spokesperson of CUPP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, during the just concluded continuous voters registration exercise, APC connived with some INEC officials and secretly accessed the exclusive INEC registration machines and feloniously tampered them and conducted their own registration with fake names and photos.

Ugochinyere claimed that APC did so with 100s of 1000s of criminally computer generated photos, faces, passport photographs, calendars and photo albums from countries like Brazil, New Zealand, Jamaica and some other African countries. He went further to reveal that the trained personnel for the evil job by APC fraudulently used only one fingerprint to register the 100s of 1000s of these fake names and photos. Unequivocally, he stated that these “fake registrations have all passed through successfully into the database” of INEC. This is terrifying and unacceptable.

The implication of this accusation against APC is that if the issue is not followed to a very logical conclusion now, no matter who Nigerians will vote for in 2023 only preferred “hallelujah boys” candidates will be picked and announced by the political godfathers as winners through INEC. Be warned Nigerians, the time to stand up is now. If other political parties allow APC and INEC succeed in this evil of manipulatively making our voting rights merely formality exercises that will have no consequences of who presides over our affairs in 2023, the repercussion will be a colossal mistake and another tragedy. Nigeria could explode.

Elaborating on the high level of evil committed against the good people of Nigeria by these fraudsters Ugochinyere used Imo State and cited the town of Governor Hope Uzodinma where he alleged that fake wards were created and suspected that the numbers of registered voters in the ward of the governor were highly inflated. He depicted the alleged evil as “monumental compromise of the voters register by the chieftains of the ruling APC”. He went further to say that the “compromise of the Nigeria electoral register, the falsification and upload of fake registration (were) “forgery and treasonable offenses”.

Credence to the CUPP allegation of fake registration and forgery by INEC and APC was given by a young lady who identified herself as MJ claiming in her narration that one of the fake male photos attached in the INEC dubious registration forms in Imo was attached to her name. According to her, she had started the process of registering for her PVC in Ibadan and had filled in everything required in the online form remaining only to upload her picture, which she had wanted to do later. But when she came back to the INEC website she was denied access. Perhaps by this time the alleged APC trained criminal personnel had already blocked her and fraudulently helped her to complete the process in Imo State.

So the questions are as follows: How was someone who started the registration not able to login again? What could be the cause? How did the registration of this lady (MJ) that was started in Ibadan come to Imo State? How many millions of Nigerians have these fraudsters denied access of completing their own forms like this lady? Is there any other body that has access to INEC machines? How are we sure that INEC machines have not been or will not be manipulated in such a way that even many that have registered and collected their voters cards will not be able to vote successfully? Is it possible that INEC machines can be manipulated that people with valid voters card may not be able to vote on the day of the election because their data may have been manipulatively distorted and their voting rights assigned to one ghost name from Brazil, Jamaica or Niger Republic etc. to be used by someone in government houses? How should we be sure now that INEC has not compromised in this coming election? Is it legally possible for all the political parties in Nigeria to demand for their IT experts to access INEC voting machines to ascertain whether they have been tempered with or not, at least three weeks before the distribution to their various wards across the country, and also access the machines after the elections? We are worried.

This is a clarion call to all good spirited Nigerians not to be discouraged by the threat of this evil. We should continue to be law-abiding citizens. We are aware that these political monsters and vampires who are half humans and half vultures in the day and bloodsuckers in the night are not happy and comfortable in our unity. If we all had not done what was right and legitimate by massively coming out to get ourselves registered for the 2023 election, it would have been easier for these political demons to rig the election than they are finding it today. Therefore, it is a duty that we all must continue to do what is just, that includes coming out en masse on the day of election and lawfully and wisely casting our votes no matter the level of provocation. By so doing we must have succeeded in closing their still little remaining nostril of bribery and rigging until they suffocate. Go and collect your PVC or they will use it and criminally manipulate (vote) in their candidate on your behalf in 2023. “A stitch in time saves nine”.

Stand up, sit down, bend right, bend left or even squat, one thing is obvious, the buttock will always remain at the back. Truth has no duplicate. Peter Obi is our wisest choice in 2023.

♦ Uzoma Ahamefule, a refined African traditionalist and a patriotic citizen writes from Vienna, Austria. WhatsApp: +436607369050; Email Contact Uzoma >>>>

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Black MAGA Pastor Declares “War On Every Demonic, Demon-Possessed Democrat From The Gates Of Hell”

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So, every once in a while the holy bowels of the sunken place spit out a Black pastor to testify before the MAGA ministry congregation full of people who likely assume Jesus didn’t season his food either. And, interestingly enough, all of these Black pastors look and sound exactly like this guy. Meet South Carolina Pastor Mark Burns, who CLTV describes as “a Trump surrogate that was caught lying about his resume by CNN .”

Pastor Mark Burns reportedly got caught lying about his academic history and military service in his bio and tried to say he was “hacked.” Dude was really out here kapping about belonging to Kappa Alpha Psi then later he explained that he only “started the process of being a part of that organization.” Like —come on, bro. (Personally, I’m just surprised he didn’t get caught lying about being the president of the Sunken Place HOA when really he’s just a nosy neighbor telling his fellow house negroes which side of the driveway the mailbox should be on.)

Burns also repeated the lies in his bio when he spoke at the Republican National Convention, which, to his credit —even Candace Owens wasn’t tap-dancy enough to shuck and jive her way into an RNC invite. But he wasn’t so successful when he tried to get down with GOP but failed to win his primary. But now he’s back and he appears to be trying to perform some kind of political exorcism in front of a white…I mean, live audience. (But they were white AF though.)

From CLTV:

Speaking at Eric Trump and disgraced Michael Flynn’s ReAwaken America tour in Idaho last week , South Carolina Pastor Burns, a Trump surrogate that was caught lying about his resume by CNN , went on an insane rant about demons and devils from hell.

Speaking at the QAnon/Evangelical event Pastor Burns, who lost his political bid to win the Republican nomination in South Carolina earlier this year thanked Flynn for making an appearance.

In his screaming sermon (rant) Burns later made his thoughts known about the majority of this great nation. “I’m coming here to declare war on every demonic, demon-possessed Democrat that comes from the gates of Hell!” I just don’t understand why Black conservatives always have to be so extra. Somebody tell Creflo MAGA he doesn’t need to go full fire and brimstone just to keep his little white nationalist parishioners shouting a-Klan…I mean, amen. Calm down, KK-Kirk Franklin , it’s not that serious.

Culled from the Hip Hop Wired

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Culture Versus Ego: Why Christiane Amanpour Defied the Iranian President

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Iranian president clashes with Christiane Amanpour demanding she wear a headscarf for their interview

Christiane Amanpour has a history of interviewing the top leaders of the world, but on Wednesday evening Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi clashed with the CNN International anchor.

Visiting the United Nations with other world leaders this week, President Raisi was to speak with Amanpour, she said, amid the uprising back home. Posting about the incident, she said that it was going to be his first interview on U.S. soil.

“After weeks of planning and eight hours of setting up translation equipment, lights and cameras, we were ready,” she explained. “But no sign of President Raisi. Forty minutes after the interview had been due to start, an aide came over. The president, he said, was suggesting I wear a headscarf because it’s the holy months of Muharram and Safar.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (left), Christiane Amanpour

Amanpour said that she politely declined. Raisi was in America now, where the laws about clothing give women the freedom to show things like their ankles, their arms, legs and heads, which is illegal in Iran.

“I pointed out that no previous Iranian president has required this when I have interviewed them outside Iran,” said Amanpour. “The aide made it clear that the interview would not happen if I did not wear a headscarf. He said it was ‘a matter of respect,’ and referred to ‘the situation in Iran’ – alluding to the protests sweeping the country.”

Amanpour still refused. The interview didn’t happen and the CNN team walked away from it.

Last week, a traveler, named Mahsa Amini, was killed while in police custody. “Amini’s family say officers beat her in the police van after her arrest, citing eyewitnesses who support that claim,” NPR reported.

Amini, also known by her Kurdish first name of Jhina, was visiting Tehran with her family last week when she was arrested for purportedly violating Iran’s strict dress code rules for women, in place since shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

She fell into a coma hours after her arrest and died in hospital on September 16.

Activists contend she was ill-treated in detention and could have suffered a blow to the head. While this is not confirmed by the authorities, the anger fuelled the protests that started from her funeral last Saturday.

“These are the biggest protests since November 2019,” said Ali Fathollah-Nejad, Iran expert at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut.

The protests come at a particularly sensitive time for the leadership, when the Iranian economy remains mired in a crisis largely caused by international sanctions over its nuclear programme.

Despite repeated warnings from Europe that time is running out, there is also no indication that the sides are on the verge of agreeing a deal to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear accord (JCPOA) that would see sanctions eased.

The protests have featured chants of “death to the dictator” as well as other anti-regime slogans and the emergence of a new rallying cry, “Zan, zendegi, azadi” (“Woman, life, freedom”).

Unprecedented images have shown protesters defacing or burning images of Khamenei or, on one occasion, setting fire to a giant image of Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani, who is presented by the authorities as a near mythical figure after his 2020 killing by the United States in Iraq.

Protesters have also been seen directly resisting security forces, with women refusing to put their headscarves back on in front of the police and vehicles belonging to the security forces torched.

At least 11 people have been killed in the protests and activists fear the authorities will resort to the repression that, according to Amnesty International, saw 321 people killed by the security forces in November 2019.

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