Islamic Law and Forced Entry: Nigeria’s Postponed Election (RELS 348)

In the wake of our modern times we have seen religious groups originate, transform, and become extreme movements that share, and even force, their beliefs onto people. Recently, there have been massive waves of information about the extremist Islamic groups that have been pushing their way into the media and getting their names and beliefs heard and recognized. Though there seems to be less and less economical and political colonialism in these modern times, it most definitely still exists. What is happening in many areas of our world right now, including African countries and the Middle East, is the religious mandate of the Islamic State which wishes to acquire political, national, and religious control of certain areas. A great deal of deadly attacks and fear has been occurring in Nigeria from the Islamic group in the area known as Boko Harem, who has been noted as saying “they will not stop until Nigeria establishes Sharia Law.” The current issue with Boko Harem in Nigeria is regarding the February 14th election. Nigeria’s electoral commission will postpone the presidential and legislative elections for six weeks to allow military forces time to secure areas that Boko Harem threatens. The concern here is that due to the chaos and fear inflicted by Boko Harem that millions of voters could be disenfranchised if voting went ahead while the Islamic extremists hold a large swath of the North-East of Nigeria. In the North-East area of Nigeria, Boko Harem has committed chaotic, violent attacks and has afflicted a great deal of fear in the people and thus causing 1.5 million people to be driven from their homes. This postponement will give electoral officials more time to deliver some 30 million voter cards, as only half of the 68.8 million registered voters have voter cars and a safe location to place their votes. U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, urged Nigeria to stick to its February 14th voting date as a way to fight back against Boko Harem. However, I believe that those officials in Nigeria are making the right stance of trying to eradicate the issue of violent extremist groups like Boko Harem and attempting to allow everyone the right to their choice to vote. As mentioned in class as well, is the Islamic idea of Dhimmitude, which dictates the toleration of Jews and Christians that live in areas where Sharia Law is imposed. However, Boko Harem seems to have a very little tolerance for non-Muslims even though no Sharia Law is officially in power. Violent extremist groups like Boko Harem are looking to merge church and state through Sharia Law, however by postponing the elections and attempting to drive the group out, Nigeria can, hopefully, successfully keep church and state separate and allow for free voting rather than the semi-colonist notion of taking the area and forcing the Islamic law upon it.



“Nigeria to postpone elections to fight Boko Harem.” The Guardian. February 7, 2015. (


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