Instead of using hashtags or the military, what if we could debate with the Sultan or Boko Haram about what Sharia demands? What if we could ask them to reflect on how their definition of Sharia could be updated to reflect today's world? To ask such questions is not only to critically know and engage the Islamic tradition, but also to remove the monopoly that Boko Haram claims on defining what Sharia is for everyone.
The Boko Haram pattern of behavior makes it all the more important that the safe schools initiative launched by Nigerian business leaders last week gets off the ground quickly. While Boko Haram are a small extremist faction with limited demographic reach, it will take a tougher approach to school security and safety to reassure girls' parents and teachers that their school in the northern states is safe enough to attend. That is why foreign governments are now offering financial support for security guards and for proper fortifications and security equipment to give any school threatened by a terrorist attack the best possible chance of surviving it intact.