Who is Boko Haram and what are its demands?

 Boko Haram roughly translates into “Western Education is Sinful”.
Boko Haram roughly translates into “Western Education is Sinful”.

The terrorist group Boko Haram has been in the news recently because of the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian school girls. The girls are reportedly being sold for as little as $12 per person. But many people do not know the background of the Nigerian terror group and why it has the world’s attention. Here are some facts:

  • The group’s official name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which in Arabic means “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”.
  • Loosely translated from the local Hausa language, this means “Western education is forbidden”.
  • Muslim cleric, Mohammed Yusuf, formed Boko Haram in Maiduguri in 2002. He set up a religious complex, which included a mosque and an Islamic school.
  • Leaders believe that the West wants to replace proper gender roles with sexual permissiveness.
  •  Secular subjects like chemistry, physics, engineering, meteorological explanations of rain, the theory of evolution are all denounced as contrary to the Quran.
  • The group became Jihadist in 2009
  • The group wishes to implement Shania Law. Which from the 9th century onward has evolved to include the most harsh forms of punishment for transgressions. These are sins against “divine” law coming directly from Allah and the religious sayings of the prophet Mohammed.
  • Because of the political policy of the U.S. and other western countries, the promotion of martyrdom as noble and the occupation of Muslim countries’ suicide attacks and martyrdom missions have increased steadily since 1985.
  • The group has committed over 36 major acts of terrorism from assassinations, Christian church massacres, bombings and targeted sabotage.
  • The source of funding for Boko Haram can’t be definitively traced. However, the group has committed bank robberies, kidnappings and in some cases extortion of foreign owned oil companies to protect pipelines, personal and property.
  • The area of Northern Nigeria in which they operate is predominately Muslim, anti-government and rich in oil.
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