The desperate pleas for the safe return of 300 Nigerian girls kidnapped from a boarding school is resonating in Chicago.
The girls were abducted last month by the extremist Islamist group called Boko Haram, which has links to Al Qaeda.
Local Islamic leaders are pleading for more international help to find the girls.
"I have family, friends from that area and it's been very, very ... it's bad," said Siki Adigun of the Nigerian Islamic Association. "Think of 16-year-old, 12-year-old girls being raped. That is unbearable."
The local group held a news conference Thursday to condemn the actions of Boko Haram.
"No extreme interpretation of Islam would allow anyone the license to kidnap girls," said Mohammed Kaiseruddin, chairman of the Council Of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. "We believe they were targeted because they are brilliant and those of the future."
The U.S., United Kingdom and France have already joined the rescue effort, but there's fears that the girls have been separated and possibly sold on the market as slaves.
Muslims across Chicago are marking Friday as a day of prayer and fasting for the girl's safe return. Saturday at noon there will be a rally for the cause at Daley Plaza.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly reported the organization Mohammed Kaiseruddin represented.