Tag Archives: Editorial

Eds’ Note: Blessed Ramadan

ramadan kareem

Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you many learn piety and righteousness” (2:183)

The most beautiful and blessed month is coming very soon and it is never too early to prepare. These 29 or 30 days, give us so many opportunities for reconnecting with family, the soul and most importantly Allah (swt). It is the greatest time to reignite your inner fire.

We at Muslimmoms.ca have a wonderful line up of articles for you for Ramadan. Why do you fast? What happens if you eat something? People question what they do not understand and the concept of “starving yourself” for the sake of religion is something many do not understand. Do you have the answers? We do in our FAQ of Ramadan article.

Did you know that fasting can actually be beneficial to your health? We have a number of wonderful articles that will show you the benefits of fasting as well as to help ensure you have a healthy Ramadan.

Working during Ramadan can be a challenge and we have the tips you need to speak to your employer and colleagues about Ramadan as well how to keep up with your work during Ramadan.

It is essential to excite our children about Ramadan and Eid. With the strong presence of Christmas, Easter and other Non-Muslim holidays in the West, it is vital that we show our children the beauty of our holidays. Educate them and involve them. We have some lovely crafts to share with you that will undoubtedly get your kids motivated!

Inviting guests over for Iftar? Along with our weekly recipes you’ll surely want to share at an iftar gathering, we also have some healthy suhoor ides to share. Further, we’ll give you our advice on iftar etiquette.

A jam packed month to help you with all your Ramadan planning! Wishing you a blessed Ramadan!

Ed’s Note: The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Eds Note April

We’re still awaiting Spring here in Toronto. Weather, that capricious friend friend of ours, teased us with a fleeting hint of Spring before bringing more snow with a polar vortex our way. In a way it is quite apropos of this month’s theme here at MuslimMoms.ca. Have you guessed it yet?

This month, April, is dedicated to toddlers! Yes, those little beings who have us wrapped around their chubby little fingers, throw a tantrum at the drop of a toy and then, just as the sky clears up after a thunderstorm, reward us with the most beatific of smiles.

Parenting is never an easy journey, and as your little own starts to grow and become into his own person, what ensues is a battle of wills. You can’t reason with a two year old, and his or her reasons to want anything will defy all logic, time and safety concerns. Most parents will have this caveat to share with new parents, enjoy the infant years, troublesome twos cometh!

They will want things at odd times, things they have no business playing with, cry because they’re so tired they don’t want to take a nap, and then cry when woken up from their nap. If anyone’s ever come up with a sure-fire list of things to keep a toddler happy, well, we don’t know of it as yet! However we believe in learning from sharing and that’s what we’ll do.

This month, we have lined up articles from our team of writers, seasoned mothers all, who share how they meandered through toddler years. Everyone has different circumstances and no two children are the same, even when they’re twins. What we can take away from the experiences of our writers are small lessons we can adapt to suit our needs. Toilet training, attending weddings with little ones in tow, or even showing enough courage to go to the Jumuah prayers with them, our moms have been there, and done that.

We will also be sharing fun activity ideas to keep them busy and of course have special recipes that are sure to appeal to the most fussy of eaters, so keep reading and do share how you fared through your child’s toddler years.

The joy, the tears, each day once past, is memorable, let’s make merry memories this April.

Salam Alaikum!

Ed Notes: Laughing Our Way Into A New Year!

new-year-2016-card-with-fireworks_1035-384

Welcome  2016! Every year we find ourselves saying  the same thing “Last year went by so fast!” and truth is, once a year starts, we really do not know how the days and weeks whizz past by!

Each New Year is a new opportunity to start clean, make new goals, experience new adventures and reach new accomplishments! What a fantastic opportunity!

At Muslimmoms.ca we also know that January is right in the midst of the winter and with winter brings with it, those “winter blues”. Not on our watch though! This month we have just the answer to your feeling blue, we’re the friends who drop by with a warm bowl of soup when you feel down. In our version of course we will be brightening your days with a lineup of funny pieces to bring humour and and cheer back in your lives. And we can’t bring you some warm soup in person, but we will have really nice recipes for you to try and share with your families.

Now let’s talk another New Year must: Resolutions. Have you a list of to-do for the year? We have some great tips for making and sticking to your year’s goals.  Canadian winters are unlike any other winters but ONLY Canadians know that! We are the True North after all and we will bring you a list of fun things to do in this month.

How many children is one too many? One child or six, we all have our struggles. One of our writers bravely shares her Confessions of a Mom of….5! So many funny scenarios we’ve all experienced and believe it or not, she can make having 5 kids look fun!

Aside from loosing our minds during our long winter months, we have a great superb article reminding you of “items” you’re likely to loose and find during our chilly winters.

As a new addition to the Muslimmoms.ca website, we’ll be having our resident nutrition specialist sharing some wonderful recipes every week! They are easy to make and undoubtedly delicious! Get excited about cooking all over again!

Wishing you a wonderful January! Hopefully the Muslimmom Team and keep you smiling each and every day!

Ed’s Note: Our Connected Worlds

Our connected worlds

It’s September already. Who else wants to cling to the last remnants of a summer well spent? We loved the love our articles received for our ‘Back to School’ theme last month. For this month the team at MuslimMoms.ca decided to segue into what is now a natural progression of the learning experience: Technology.

Many parents among us had to give up on the battle against limiting their child’s screen time in the vacations but come September we will all be rethinking our strategies. We cannot deny that connectivity and technology is all pervasive in our lives today, from our highly connected existences to small appliances we use at home to get our work done. Are we addicted to our smartphones and are distracted parents? Should we consider a digital detox?

There are both good and bad sides to anything and same goes for what use we put the various technological tools we have on our hands today. There are numerous apps to help us streamline our daily lives, even help us in our Ibadah and aid in the learning process, for both Deen and Dunya.  All through September our team have a line-up of articles that can get you all thinking and of course we would love to hear back from you on how it affects your lives too. Should mothers worry over their children spending too much time over the social media? Should we limit our own times with our devices just to set an example? We’ll discuss these topics and then some more over the coming days, including tips for online mompreneurs and tales from the trenches on online dating in the Muslim world.

Later in the month we will be celebrating Eid ul Adha and we look forward to your feedback on how you incorporate your own traditions into your Canadian lifestyle and own this Muslim celebration.

September is also when winters start creeping into our lives. However we lover Fall more, let’s see how soon Mother Nature sees us bringing out our winter gear. We will of course share fall appropriate recipes, fashion, home decor, lifestyle and shopping tips with our readers to celebrate this month.

The kids are back in school, you have more time on hands, what better way to spend it than read what MuslimMoms.ca have in store for you?

Have a blessed September.

 

Spring Is In The Air!

Spring is in the air!

Who here loves winters? With the kind of weather most of Canada has experienced this past month, we have a whole new level of understanding (and dread) for the term ‘dead of the winter’. From setting new records of low temperatures to repeated ‘extreme cold alerts’, February was one cold and long month, never mind that the calendar said it was just 28 days!

Come March, we hope that spring comes marching in early. We love our winters here in Canada, but we also believe that it makes us appreciate spring more and look forward to the warm, sunny summer months with more enthusiasm than displayed in other parts of the world.

At Muslim Moms of Canada, we are dedicating this month, March 2015, to Spring -the season of eternal hope and ‘new life’. We will be talking about not just spring cleaning our homes, but also getting the negativity out of our lives for a better outlook. From heading outdoors for work-outs to instilling a love of nature in our children, from natural remedies for minor ailments to an exclusive interview with a rising star in the GTA political scene, we have an array of topics for you.

March is also Spring Break time, so stay tuned, we will share some activities on how to keep the kids busy without losing your sanity in that one week ! Thinking of ‘cleaning up’ your eating habits? Our resident nutritionist has some tips for you on the ‘Raw Food’ diet. We have humour, fashion and beauty trends report as well as a report on a new Muslim boutique opening in the GTA.

If you want to keep updated on the recent developments on the Health and Physical Education Curriculum issue, head over to our special coverage page, where our team writers share their opinions. We look forward to more of your contributions, comments and opinions.

Remember to like our Facebook fanpage, you’re going to love Sister Sensible for her daily reminders and gentle humour! Also, we hope you are following us on our social media. We are on Twitter and Instagram as well! Also subscribe to our newsletter and participate on our forums to stay connected with latest deals, events and like-minded Muslim Moms.

March has gotten off to a chilly start, but we can’t wait to shed all the winter gear and head out to enjoy some fresh air! Clear blue skies, we did miss you so!

Matters Of The Heart

Matter of the Heart

Assalam o Alaikum ladies. We wish you are all keeping well and warm.

We started 2015 by introducing theme months. January was the month of Positivity where our team shared articles and ideas on how to keep positive. This month we will be celebrating ‘Matters of the Heart’, encompassing relationships, love, marriage, life, and of course health matters as well.

We all know that the heart is just another, albeit the most important, organ in our bodies; that it has little to do with thoughts, and how we relate to others in our lives. All the same, the heart does take centre-stage when we talk about love, marriage, children or even our friends. It may be the brains doings, but our hearts get a-pumping faster in certain situations, good as well as bad.

The start of February also marks the World Hijab Day, and we’ve talked about how Hijab helps us cement our Muslim identity here. It is of course a choice and by no means a way to measure someone’s piety. And it is more than a piece of head-covering, Hijab is an attitude, it is a way of life. Just because a Muslimah does not cover her head does not take away her identity as a Muslim.

February at MuslimMoms.ca

We have an exciting line up of articles for this month. Our contributors will be talking about everything ‘heart-y’ from foods that help keep a heart healthy, to exercises that keep this vital organ in top shape.

On the home front we all know that Moms are the heart of a family, and they neglect their own beings so often that we thought it would be well to offer them some quick pointers on how to take some time out for themselves. What makes you feel better about yourself? As a woman, mother, wife? We will be talking about it all. How do you keep the spark alive in your marriage after having children? How do you make your children feel loved? What is courtship in Islam? Or even how to survive a bad marriage.

Sister Sensible

In other news we would like to introduce the newest member of our team: Sister Sensible.

Super mom to three children, she is often found hijab-deep in Legoes and Barbies. She loves to cook but hates cleaning up. Her inane fear of bugs often finds her standing on a chair pleading with her patient husband to evict said bugs from the home.

She adores experimenting with makeup and is a bit of a shopaholic when it comes to shoes. Not to mention her love for eating cheese and chocolate together as a midnight snack!

Part-time ECE teacher by day and a blogger by night she is infinitely wise and has her priorities in place. She lovingly and patiently guides her family and friends to help them make the right choices in life. We hope that she will make a wonderful and fun addition to your life. We at MuslimMoms.ca simply love her!

Contests and Giveaways

The weather is still not very travel friendly and for the time being we do not have events planned. However, we love hosting contests and giveaways for our readers and Facebook fans. This month, we are giving away a beautiful designer hijab by Kashkha to one lucky winner. Head over here for more details on the contest.

Get Involved

So many of you want to know how to get more involved with MuslimMoms.ca. Here are some ways:

Connect with us through social media (Facebook, Twitter) and subscribe to our newsletter to stay posted on the latest happenings, contests, giveaways and events.

If you have an article idea you want to see published, email us a pitch and we can work together to bring out the writer in you!

We are extremely humbled by all the support and encouragement we get from you, our readers. Muslim Moms of Canada is all about us, we celebrate motherhood with all its quirks, ups and downs.

So stay tuned and keep reading, because hearts matter!

Team @ MuslimMoms.ca

Image: 123RF

Eid Mubarak! We’re Back!

eid saeed

photo credit: heli101 via photopin cc

Assalam o Alaikum,

We hope you had a wonderful Eid this year, Muslim Moms of Canada.

You must be missing our daily dose of articles, but like every other Muslim household, our days too passed in a blur as the holy month of Ramadan neared its end. So we took a little break that has lasted from the last ashra to some days after Eid.

We did run a giveaway with Toronto based, all Canadian beauty brand Vasanti Cosmetics and the winner was announced earlier this week. Congratulations to the lucky lady, we hope you enjoy making yourself prettier with them!

We are also in the last stretch of summer vacations, since regular outings and tasks take a back seat during Ramadan, many families postponed their vacation plans to coincide with Eid. Some of our team members are still away on vacations! The others took a stay-cation, discovering all that was to be done within driving distance in the GTA, but we are now back and all geared up to bring you more articles, information, recipes, parenting tips, light doses of laughter, even make up tutorials and so much more!

Ramadan and Eid was also a sombre affair due to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. These days have seen an increase in social media activism and hopefully peace would prevail in the Middle East, albeit at the cost of many innocent casualties. We will keep up with highlighting and covering key current affairs and issues that are making headlines in the mainstream media.

In other news, we had a great and inspiring start to our Mompreneur section. There are so many enterprising ladies among us and we do have other tales of determination and success lined up for you.

On a lighter note, we had also started a new section ‘Between Friends’ where you can read as well as contribute short works of fiction, poetry, humour and personal stories that can inspire other moms.

Also remember to drop by our forum, where we all gather, dissect issues, share opinions, advice and help each other.

Lastly, we would to thank all of our readers and supporters – we started this year in May and in just these few months our numbers have grown up quite impressively masha Allah. We aspire to become THE Voice of all Muslim Moms in Canada and with your support and encouragement, that day will dawn soon enough, in’sha Allah!

Thank you again.

Keep reading, stay safe.

Wasalam,

Team MuslimMoms.ca

Gaza: A Gaping Wound

By Aaisha Zafar Islam

Gaza 2014

Residents in the Gaza Strip are by no means new to warfare. A thin strip of land accorded to Palestinians in the 1994, it has a small 11 kilometers of border in the southwest with Egypt, with Israel closing in on it along the eastern and northern borders and the Mediterranean Sea coast along its western side.

Granted autonomy in 1994, as part of the Cairo Agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Gaza Strip is just 41 kilometers long and its width ranges from 6 to 12 kilometers, covering a total of just 365 square kilometers.

With a large number of Palestinian refugees crammed into this small space, Gaza has a population of 1.82 million, one of the most densely populated areas in the world.  Limited land space, frequent strife and no room for constructing new facilities – life in the strip is a harsh reality. Its economy relies heavily on Israel.

Gaza: In-fighting and wars

Gaza has been governed by Hamas since 2007 after it wrested with Al Fatah for control over the strip. Hamas had won 74 out of 132 total seats in the January 2006 Palestinian Parliamentary elections. However, Israel, US and the EU refused to recognize this mandate won by Hamas.

A year later, in 2007, war broke out between Al Fatah and Hamas for control over the strip and Hamas emerged victorious in claiming power over the beleaguered land.  This move was not welcomed by the world comity, with even Arab states like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia ignoring Hamas’ stake in the cabinet and recognizing the government formed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.

Since 2007, Gaza Strip has seen conflicts in many shapes, in-fighting among Palestinian cadres and full-on wars with Israel.

In response to Hamas’ control over the Strip, Israel implemented a territorial, aerial and naval blockade of all supplies coming into Gaza in 2008. Despite Israel’s claims to the contrary, Gaza Strip has limited autonomy as Israel still exercises complete control over the air space, territorial waters and any land movements of goods and people to and from Gaza. The blockade or siege has lasted to this day, with ease of some restrictions coming in 2010, after mounting international pressure.

photo credit: rafahkid via photopin cc

photo credit: rafahkid via photopin cc

Gaza War of 2007-08

As 2007 ended, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against Gaza. This three week war, also known as the Gaza Massacre, or Battle of the Al-Furqan ended in mid-January 2008. Israel claimed to have launched this offensive in response to rocket attacks by Hamas.

These hostilities saw thousands of deaths in Gaza, as Israel launched aerial attacks, followed by ground invasion in January 2008. Death toll on the Palestinian side was reported to be between 1166 to 1417; Israeli side saw 13 deaths in total of which four were a result of friendly fire.

Hostilities of 2012

Four years after the War of 2007/08, Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) started another attack on the Strip, in November. This lasted eight day, seeing more than a hundred civilians die on the Palestinian side.  On Israel’s side, four civilians and two soldiers were killed as a result of Palestinian rocket attacks.

2014: Operation Protective Edge

On July 8, 2014, Israel initiated the operation, starting with bombing 200 sites in Gaza, killing 24 Palestinians. By day four, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu had pledged to fighting Hamas with ‘increasing intensity’. By day five, the death toll in Gaza had risen to 50 – in just one day.

In a televised news conference, Netanyahu said:

No international pressure will prevent us from operating with full force against a terrorist organization that calls for our destruction.

Hamas, on the other hand, claimed:

So far Hamas has utilized only a little of what it has prepared for the Zionist enemy. We have prepared ourselves for a very long battle, not for a week or 10 days, as some have said, but for many long weeks.

As we write these lines, Israel has launched another ground offensive on Gaza Strip. Named Operation Protective Edge, IDF launched a ground invasion just a day after harrowing reports and photographs of four young boys who died from Israeli shelling, while playing on the Gaza beach.

A cease-fire proposed by Egypt saw a temporary lull in aerial attacks from Israeli side on July 15, but violence escalated as Hamas rejected the proposal saying it was not consulted. In a report released by the International Crisis Group, Nathan Thrall laid bare the facts:

The world is radically different from the 2012 conflict. This thing is much harder to resolve.

Egypt helped its ally, Israel, achieve a face-saving unilateral cease-fire — that’s what happened. We had an Israeli unilateral cease-fire to which Hamas never agreed, and Egypt helped Israel market it.

Israel was not ready to accept the terms of a ceasefire arrangement proposed by Hamas.

gaza2

Silent spectators, the real culprits

Each time it is a similar set of events that are played out. Israel starts indiscriminate aerial bombing of the strip, in retaliation to Hamas’ rocket fires into its territory. This is followed by a ground invasion by the IDF, into Gazan territory, to ‘flush out militants’ as more civilians come and die in the line of fire.

The world, particularly the Muslim Ummah, is jostled out of its slumber as long as reports of casualties come in from Gaza, and go back to their usual routines till another round of hostilities and deaths starts making headlines.

The current round of warfare is third in around seven years. As everyone takes to voicing their support for Gaza and the besieged Palestinians, on social media and in street protests, this activism lasts for only as long as the war is making headlines.

There is a renewed call to boycott companies and MNC’s that support Zionism and Israeli government, striking the economic backbone of the Zionist movement. Similar calls were made in 2008 as well. Once hostilities ended, or at least panned out of the news limelight, all resolutions to boycott Israeli/Zionist goods and services were forgotten. Till July 2014.

Israel and its right-wing government, as well as its apartheid policies are to blame for the on-going strife in Palestinian lands. However the world, particularly the Ummah and its hapless leaders cannot be absolved of blame either. Muslim leaders around the world think they have fulfilled their duty to the hapless citizens of Gaza with their rhetoric, just as Muslims around the world, and on social media, think they are doing a service to Palestine by posting and sharing pictures, news items and changing their DP’s showing support for Gaza.

We need to wake up and realize that any half-hearted economic and public opinion pressure we may exert now, will only result in a temporary cessation of hostilities. There will be another trigger some years later, another round of deaths, another flurry of armchair activism -  none of which is the permanent solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

What we need is to engage public opinion, think and plan in the long-term, identify decision-makers and lobby for support in the government, let our votes speak for us. We have witnessed many Jews come out against Israeli attacks on civilians in Gaza, we need to differentiate between Judaism and Zionism. Anti-Israel spiels will not get us anywhere, we have learnt that the Zionist lobby is too strong and has supporters in all the right places. Friends of Palestine have a short attention span and can only be goaded into action after they read of deaths and for as long as the death toll rises. We do our Palestinian brethren no service with just words, we feel for them , but feelings alone will not help them till we develop a backbone and up our lobbying game. A war has no ‘right’ sides, it only has casualties. It is time to play the humanity card, we’ve played the Muslim/Arab/Palestinian card for far too long with very little success.

Facebook Users: Unwitting Subjects In A Psychological Experiment

By Aaisha Zafar Islam

photo credit: johnscotthaydon via photopin cc

photo credit: johnscotthaydon via photopin cc

 

This past month a report on Facebook’s covert psychological experiment saw the social media giant make headlines and create yet another ‘invasion of privacy’ furore.

Facebook, with more than a billion users worldwide, is touted as the third most populous state in the world, albeit a virtual one. It had crossed this threshold in October 2012. In the same year, little over its 689, 000 users were subjected to a carefully orchestrated news feed as part of a study conducted by Facebook’s in-house Core Data Science team, Cornell University and University of California, San Francisco.

Facebook uses a ‘ranking algorithm’ to filter news feed content on its users’ homepage. For this study, the algorithm identified ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ content.

The ‘subjects’ for this study were divided into three groups. One was a control group shown random friend’s postings in their news feed. One group was shown more ‘happy’ content while the other had more ‘sad’ postings shown on their homepages.

The findings of this psychological experiment were presented as a report for the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

According to the researchers, this experiment, ‘manipulated the extent to which people were exposed to emotional expressions in their news feed.’

These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks.

There have been previous studies conducted on how social media affects our moods in real life. Both studies, one conducted in the US and another in Germany, around the same time as Facebook’s experiment, noted that seeing more self-promotional content on our Facebook friends profile made users feel unsatisfied with their own lives. The German research identified this as ‘the self-promotion –envy spiral.’

These studies, however, were different from how Facebook proceeded to conduct its own experiment as both of these previous researches gathered data from volunteers, through a series of questions and other statistical analysis tools. ‘Subjects,’ if they can be labelled so, knew of the experiment and were willing participants to the study – unlike Facebook.

In fact, Susan Fiske, a psychologist at the Princeton University, who reviewed and edited the Facebook research was reportedly ‘creeped out’ by its nature.

Talking to The Atlantic, Fiske said that she was concerned until she queried the authors and they said their local institutional review board had approved it—and apparently on the grounds that ‘Facebook apparently manipulates people’s News Feeds all the time.’

photo credit: M i x y via photopin cc

photo credit: M i x y via photopin cc

At the heart of this controversial episode is how Facebook manipulates users, not just as part of a scientific study, but in general.

A report by Wall Street Journal cited Andrew Ledvina,  a Facebook data scientist from February 2012 to July 2013. He told WSJ:

There’s no review process, per se. Anyone on that team could run a test. They’re always trying to alter peoples’ behavior.

It is interesting to note that the Data Science Group at Facebook has had a free-run all this while.

How can they foist such studies onto users? Facebook’s Terms of Service is a very long piece of wordy documentation no one bothers much with and almost everyone clicks their consent to it. A clause in these terms of service identifies that user’s data ‘could be used to improve Facebook’s products. These terms have now been updated to state that user data may be used for research.

John Gapper, writing for Financial Times, has suggested that we, the users, are products Facebook has been testing.

Facebook has made no secret of the fact that its news feed is a manipulated version of reality. It selects the posts and links to display prominently that it has found through testing are the most likely to interest users, and encourage them to return and post themselves. These tests are not sinister experiments; they are product development.

All true, but there is one big difference: we are the product that Facebook has been testing. Perhaps we should grow up and accept that this is how the world works when we use an advertising-funded social network stuffed with details of our lives and those of family and friends. But if we find it creepy, that is what the experiment proves.

Concluding their research, Adam Kramer, from Facebook’s Core Data Science team, Jamie Guillory, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California in San Francisco, and Jeffrey Hancock, a professor at Cornell University, wrote that:

Given the massive scale of social networks such as Facebook, even small effects can have large aggregated consequences. Online messages influence our experience of emotions, which may affect a variety of offline behaviours.

At the end of the day, we do realize that by posting and sharing our lives online, we are subjecting ourselves to an on-going social experiment. And while Facebook might have sketchy ‘legal’ grounds to validate its study, ethical boundaries had been crossed. No one gets to play God and mess with people’s emotions.

#BringBackOurGirls

by Aaisha Zafar Islam

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

 

What is this campaign that has snagged headlines, got social media in a frenzy and captured world leaders’ attention in the past few weeks? Who are Boko Haram, and why are they kidnapping young Nigerian school girls?

Boko Haram?

Boko Haram stands for ‘Western Education is sin’ in Hausa, one of the largest spoken languages in North Eastern Africa. The militant outfit has strongholds in Nigeria, spilling over into neighboring Cameroon and Niger. While they have been spreading the ‘Taliban’ brand of terrorism, with frequent bombings, killings, kidnappings and mayhem, they catapulted to fame last month when they brazenly kidnapped hundreds of school girls in Nigeria.