On Boko Haram, Justin Timberlake and Imams agree: #RealMenDontBuyGirls (+video)

Hollywood celebrities, including Sean Penn, Justin Timberlake, Bradley Cooper, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx, and others are tweeting photos of themselves holding a sign saying "Real Men Don't Buy Girls." Islamic scholars agree.

By , Staff writer

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    Justin Timberlake and other Hollywood celebrities have tweeted photos of themselves in a campaign to stop Boko Haram from selling the school girls kidnapped in Nigeria.
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It's not often that Hollywood and Islam are on the same page.

More specifically, it's rare that pop singer Justin Timberlake and Muslim Imams share the same world view.

We're talking about Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group that's taken nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls captive. The group, which opposes secular Western education (among other things) has been active in Nigeria for years. But as The Christian Science Monitor's reporter in Nigeria explains, "The numbers of those being killed by the Boko Haram insurgents, combined with the grisly operations they engineered, reached a critical mass after nearly 10 months of ever more horrific attacks on civilians, churches, boys, roadways, mosques, and bus stations."

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Earlier this week, self-proclaimed Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video in which he threatened to sell his captives as sex slaves.

The response to the kidnapping – and a threat to sell the girls – is reaching a global crescendo of opposition.

Hollywood celebrities, including Sean Penn, Justin Timberlake, Bradley Cooper, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx, and others are tweeting photos of themselves holding a sign saying "Real Men Don't Buy Girls."

And #RealMenDontBuyGirls is trending on Twitter in the US, Nigeria, Spain, and a host of other countries. Supporters have also set up a Facebook page to bring attention to the problem.

While the Nigeria kidnappings have ignited this effort, the BBC observes that the Real Men Don't Buy campaign was originally started in 2011 by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore to fight trafficking – particularly of children – into the sex trade. It featured a series of YouTube videos with celebrities.

And it turns out Islamic scholars – who aren't generally known to be fans of Western pop culture – completely agree with Hollywood celebrities, in saying that real Muslims don't express their manhood in this fashion.

The Islamic Fiqh Academy, which is based in Saudi Arabia and dedicated to the advanced study of Islam, said that this "crime and other crimes committed by the likes of these extremist organizations contradicts all humanitarian principles and moral values and violates the provisions of the Quran and Sunnah," or teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, according to the Associated Press.

The academy is part of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which is comprised of some 57 Muslim majority member-nations.

Also on Thursday, the OIC's Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission said Boko Haram is misguided to claim that the abduction of the girls and the threat to sell them off as slaves is in conformity with the injunctions of Islam. The rights body described the abduction of the schoolgirls as a "barbaric act".

"Right to education is a fundamental human right, and is in consonance with the basic tenets of Islam," the rights body said.

Even some Al Qaeda followers are reportedly finding the tactics of Boko Haram unpalatable. “The violence most of the African rebel groups practice makes Al Qaeda look like a bunch of schoolgirls,” Bronwyn Bruton, an Africa scholar at the Atlantic Council in Washington told the New York Times. “And Al Qaeda at this point is a brand — and pretty much only a brand — so you have to ask yourself how they are going to deal with the people who are doing things so hideous even the leaders of Al Qaeda are unwilling to condone them.”

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