Boko Haram and the Rise of the Islamic State (RELS 348)

While reading any international newspaper over the past year, you are bound to find an article regarding conflict between the West and the Islamic State. The article “Boko Haram embraces Islamic State model for extremist jihad,” written on January 14, 2015 by Guy Taylor in the Washington Times, is just one of many.

This article focuses on the speculation of the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, recently expanding its dedication to the establishment of an “ancient Islamic Caliphate” across the continent of Africa (Taylor, 2015). As learned in lecture, this stems from the traditional Muslim viewpoint that areas of Islamic traditions are areas of peace (Dar-al-Islam), and areas that do not represent Islam are areas of war (Dar al-Harb) (RELS 348). The goal of this Islamic State is that it will rule through a strict Sharia Law political basis, which is the legal structure influenced by Islamic Law. Unfortunately, along with their increased goals, come increased acts of terror. As Taylor (2015) states, “Boko Haram has been ramping up both the ferocity and tempo of its attacks and reportedly slaughtered as many as 2,000 people in the northeastern town of Baga earlier this month.” However, there are many differing opinions regarding the existence of collaboration between Boko Haram and the Islamic State (ISIS). The government of the United States is strongly cautioning against speculation of this collaboration between the two groups (Taylor, 2015).

Groups that support the creation of the Islamic State have a unique and extreme interpretation of Sharia Law. Although there are global attempts made by groups to impose Sharia Law, this is a very controversial and subjective goal. As we learned in lecture, there are many contradicting interpretations of the Hadith, the teachings of the Islamic Profit, Muhammad (RELS 348). These groups, such as Boko Haram also do not demonstrate Dhimmitude, which is the toleration of people of the book who are not Muslims, but who live in areas where Sharia Law is imposed (RELS 348). Acts against the principles of Dhimmitude are demonstrated by the killings and acts of terror committed by Boko Haram. The following article explains one of these acts, as members of Boko Haram killed a pastor living in Nigeria who refused to renounce his faith of Christianity and convert to Islam. This further demonstrates the contradiction of the Islamic belief of submission against Dhimmitude’s notion of tolerance (RELS 348).

Personally, I believe the principles articulated by ‘dhimmitude,’ need to occur throughout the entire world regarding all religions. Religious tolerance is crucial to avoid the horrible consequences of conflict and war. Although I understand the complexity that accompanies religion, I believe a movement towards universal acceptance must begin on the individual level, between our friends and neighbors.

#uwreligions #CML

Works Cited

Taylor, G. (2015, 01, 14). “Boko Haram embraces Islamic State model for extremist jihad,” The Washington Times. Retrieved From:

Chumley, C. (2013, 06, 26) “Islamic extremists slit throat of Christian for refusing to renounce faith,” The Washington Times. Retrieved From:


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