Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ethics of libraries... are people opposed to reading?

Violence in northern Nigeria has left hundreds dead, and some stories suggest that a militant Islamic group is largely responsible, having raised a cry against "western education." This extract from a New York Times article I thought revealing:

A more mainstream Islamic group in Nigeria, the Jamaat Nasr al-Islam, or J.N.I., on Tuesday condemned the militants, known as Boko Haram, a Hausa expression meaning “Western education is prohibited.”

J.N.I. said through its acting secretary general, Abdulkarim Muazu, that the attacks on the police were “criminal.” Mr. Muazu added that “nobody is against Western education.”

“The first injunction is to read so that you improve on your life,” he added.
I can't help but think that Boko is a dervied Hausa word for book... so "Forbid Book" would be the better translation? But a little web research (amazing, this "western education" suggests that boko Hausa refers to writing Hausa language using Latin alphabet), and this posting tells the sorry tale of British responsibility during colonial rule for setting in motion the backlash.

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