Persecution in 2014: Expansions in Slavery and Sharia Enforcement
The following is Dr. Martin Parsons’ assessment of Christian persecution, in which he notes Islamists and violent jihadists successfully expanded the enforcement of Sharia law on non-Muslims in Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. Dr. Parsons has a PhD in Islam and Christian-Muslim relations and has authored a major academic book on the subject.
01/07/2014 Africa (ConservativeHome) – This time last year I asked the question: will the persecution of Christians continue to spread in 2014? Anyone who has watched the news about ISIS and the plight of Christian and Yezidi minorities in Syria and Iraq will be all too uncomfortably aware of the answer. Yet what ISIS has done in 2014 is, in many ways, an extreme example of a broader issue: the global spread of sharia enforcement. This is something that we have seen increase, both in its geographical spread and its intensity, in 2011, 2012 and 2013 – and clearly continued in 2014.
By “sharia enforcement” I mean the attempts by either political or violent means to legally enforce sharia on Muslims and non-Muslim minorities. This is the central aim of both political Islamists and violent jihadists.
The UN estimates that approximately 1500 Christian and Yezidi women and children have been abducted and forced into sexual slavery. Similarly, reports from Nigeria suggest that many of the 270 predominantly Christian school girls abducted by Boko Haram in April have been forcibly converted to Islam and sold as brides or sex slaves to jihadists. In a video statement Boko Haram’s leader claimed:
“Allah instructed me to sell them… slavery is allowed in my religion.”
This is a major development in the intensification of sharia enforcement. Slavery almost entirely died out in the Islamic world, at least as a formal legal institution, in the Twentieth Century with its abolition in Mauritania in 1981. Yet the regulations on slavery, and on whom may be enslaved, still exist in the traditional textbooks of sharia that have been taught in madrassas for centuries.