Nigeria and the Sunni Islamic insurgency of Boko Haram : over 170 killed in Kano
Boutros Hussein and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Islamists in northern Nigeria have killed more than 170 people in the city of Kano after many bomb blasts and gun attacks. It is clear that Boko Haram is not only increasing its violence but the sophistication of attacks also points to greater training and funding. This in itself shows the severity of the crisis in Nigeria because Boko Haram doesn’t recognize the current political and legal system of this country.
In recent months radical Sunni Islamists have attacked Christian churches, the security forces, local police stations, and any area which is deemed to be a threat to their power objectives. It is abundantly clear that members of this Islamist movement deem Christians to be infidels and worthy of killing and the same applies to Muslims who don’t support their draconian thinking. Therefore, Christians in northern Nigeria fear further attacks and the bloodletting threatens to ignite new flashpoints in other parts of this country.
In an article called “Boko Haram: Nigeria’s growing new headache” which was published by The International Institute for Strategic Studies, it was stated that “The increased sophistication of Boko Haram’s attacks may be partly explained by growing foreign support. There has been speculation – though without hard evidence – about interaction with al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, including possible training of Nigerians. In August 2011 General Carter Ham, Commander of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), said it was likely that Boko Haram had established contacts with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and with al-Shabaab. He described this as, if confirmed, ‘the most dangerous thing to happen not only to the Africans, but to us as well’. In November, Algerian Deputy Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel said he had ‘no doubts that coordination exists between Boko Haram and al-Qaeda’, citing intelligence reports and common operating methods.”
However, it is easy to play the “al-Qaeda” card but instead the focus should be on the trinity of the Koran, the Hadiths, and Islamic Sharia law. Muslims, just like Christians in Nigeria, don’t belong to one strand of thinking and Islamic clerics opposed to Boko Haram also face the threat of death. Yet, the methodology of Boko Haram does follow the path of Sunni Islamic radicalism in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Somalia – and this applies to forcing terror against all and sundry who oppose an Islamic state based on Sharia law.
Also, while non-Muslim minorities are attacked and killed the same applies to killing fellow Sunni Muslims and different sects within Islam, for example killing Shia Muslims and so forth. Therefore, instead of linking the “al-Qaeda” bogeyman it is more reliable to focus on the binding reality that the trinity of Islam, the Koran-Hadiths-Sharia, was and continues to be used for supporting violence against all thought patterns which oppose this “limited worldview.”
In Nigeria the central government bowed down and allowed Sharia law in northern Nigeria to spread in power and for Christians, followers of Traditional Beliefs, secularists, moderate strands of Islam, and so forth; this didn’t quell the problem but merely inspired greater militancy. Not only this, it highlighted the fault-lines within Islam itself. Also, Saudi sponsored missionaries and training in Saudi Arabia further increased a limited world view of Islam which was based on being the sole power mechanism in Nigeria.
In Somalia, for example, where Sunni Islamic radicals are intent on spreading their Islamic inquisition and killing every single Christian in the country, it is clear that Arabization and outside meddling from the Middle East is altering the landscape. Therefore, Sufi Muslims in this country also fear the ongoing changes within Islam and the role of outsiders in spreading this indoctrination, which boasts of “purity” and “piety” while enforcing the sword on all perceived enemies.
The vast majority of Nigerians support a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society despite complex ethnic issues and other factors. However, in the eyes of Boko Haram they desire an Islamic state based on Islamic Sharia law and in their eyes the central government and secular laws have no validity.
Boko Haram also desires to spread sectarianism because this will further their view that they are the “Guardians of Islam” and not Muslims who support a united Nigeria. It is essential that Christians, Muslims, secularists, and people from all political persuasions who support a united Nigeria to stand up to this new tyranny. After all, if the “house is divided” then Boko Haram will be hoping to fill the vacuum.