Opinion | Sexuality

Why Boko Haram and ISIS Target Women

The oldest way to spread a religion is not to evangelize people; it’s to create new ones.
Why Boko Haram and ISIS Target Women
Image: Emmanuel Arewa / AFP

In all the battles waged by men, one of the most effective ways to destroy the enemy is to destroy its women. Rape and sexual abuse are wartime “strategies” as old as war itself.

Yesterday The New York Times ran a devastating report that hundreds of girls as young as 11 have been raped and impregnated by members of Boko Haram. Based in Nigeria, the radical Islamist sect has long proven its cowardice by targeting girls, including the 300 mostly Christian schoolgirls they kidnapped last year, inciting the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. For the young victims now carrying their abusers’ unborn children, returning to anything like normal life is impossible to imagine.

The same goes for those targeted by another radical Islamic group, this one spreading terror throughout the Middle East. Popular Christian writer Ann Voskamp recently visited refugees in Northern Iraq who had fled ISIS, the self-declared Islamic State. Voskamp noticed 5- and 7-year old girls among the families, but ...

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