Nigeria and the Islamic State: Boko Haram (RELS 348)

A response to Farouk Chothia’s Story “Who are Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists?” BBC Africa. January 21, 2015.

Throughout the globalization of our world there has been massive waves of empire grabbing and colonialism. A large causality of this land grab and colonial influence was seen throughout the continent of Africa. Throughout Africa different empires and national-political powerhouses divided the continent among various European nations. Thus, throughout modern day Africa we have seen various African and European languages and dialects being spoken, as well as, various different religious attitudes. Recently, events in Nigeria, related to colonial powers and religious division, has created chaos in Africa’s most heavy populated country. Nigeria’s militant Islamist group known as Boko Haram has begun a surge of bombings, assassinations and abductions, in a violent way to fight to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state in Nigeria. Boko Harem is a group that promotes a version of Islam which makes it forbidden for Muslims to take part in any political or social activity associated with Western society- or for a lack of a better word, related to this course, the colonial empire. A few of these political and social activities Boko Haram refers to are; voting in elections, wearing shirts and pants, or receiving a secular education. Nigeria fell under British control in 1903 and ever since there has been resistance, in some areas, of Muslims against Western education. However, the Boko Haram are not only interested in education, the schools actually became a recruiting ground for jihadis, with the ultimate political agenda of creating an Islamic state. This campaign of the Boko Haram’s against Western education also intensifies through the belief that this education corrupts the moral values of Muslims, “especially girls”, and hence Boko Haram has begun attacking boarding schools. This awful chaos and madness that has overcome various states within Nigeria has had a profoundly negative effect on community members, education seeking individuals, and the political state. These are the forces we can see when religion and colonial empire collide, a disagreement so deep that, to some, the only logical reasoning is to kill those individuals who do not comply with their beliefs.



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