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Nigerians in city plan rally to demand girls' return

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Manitobans are adding their voices to what's becoming a global rallying cry of "bring back our girls."

The University of Manitoba's Nigerian Students Association has posted a video on YouTube calling on governments to rescue the 276 schoolgirls abducted in northern Nigeria April 15.

The Nigerian community in Winnipeg is organizing a rally this Sunday at 2 p.m. at the legislature with representatives from all three levels of government expected to attend.

Sunday evening, the Manitoba Islamic Association has organized an evening of solidarity and prayers at the Grand Mosque on Waverley Street.

The Grand Mosque and the Winnipeg Central Mosque on Ellice are holding special prayers for the girls after Friday's sermon.

The Islamic terror group Boko Haram -- which means western education is forbidden -- abducted the schoolgirls in a massive kidnapping last month.

"What are we waiting for?" asked Shahina Siddiqui, the executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association.

"It seems the pleas are falling on deaf ears," said Siddiqui, who is helping to organize some of the events.

"Every day that passes by they're going through something that is worse than death," she said. People feel "helpless" about the plight of the abducted girls.

"These kinds of countries understand financial pressure and the carrot and the stick," Siddiqui said.

The Nigerian government first dismissed the kidnapping as a rumour and has been criticized for failing to take action against Boko Haram.

The leader of the Boko Haram kidnappers has reportedly said Allah asked him to do it.

"He's obviously a psychopath," said Siddiqui.

He committed a brazen act of terror, bragged about it on video and the world can't let him get away with it, she said.

"This affects everyone -- whether you're a Nigerian Muslim or a Nigerian Christian, it doesn't matter. It's like someone has taken my daughter," she said.

"Wherever there's war or conflict, it's women who suffer the most."

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 9, 2014 0

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