An Onitsha-based Islamic cleric, Hanafi Anasalatu, on Thursday, stated that forced marriage was not recognized in Islam or the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.
Anasalatu, who made this known in reaction to a claim by leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, that he had been “instructed” by Allah to sell the over 200 girls he abducted from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, told journalists in Onitsha, Anambra State, that what the insurgents purported to have done with the school girls was abominable.
According to him: “Islam is not in support of forced marriage, which the insurgents claimed to subject the abducted girls to.
“Islam is a religion which spelt out rules and regulations on how men and women should conduct themselves in a peaceful and respectful manner.
“It is a complete way of life that respects human feelings and that of the custodian of an underage person, especially as it concerns marriage.
“Forced marriage is extremely bad and offensive, which Islam never agreed with”.
The cleric, who is also the Chief Imam of Yoruba Muslim community in Onitsha, however, expressed dismay that the entire scenario of the abduction had been reduced to a political gimmick.
“Where are the sponsors of these insurgents or gunmen? Why is it that none of the people behind the atrocities has been identified?” he asked.
The cleric urged governments at all levels to assist security agencies in rescuing the girls.