Nigerian Islamist Terrorist Group Boko Haram Likely to Get Even Stronger

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | May 13, 2014 3:53 PM EST

Boko Haram, the Islamist terror organisation that has recently come into prominence after kidnapping 276 schoolgirls, first appeared in the political arena in 2009. It killed more than a hundred Nigerians in a week, both Muslim and Christian. Strangely, it has never got enough media attention even after killing so many. Media all over the world apparently never cared until the terrorist group kidnapped the young girls.

REUTERS/Boko Haram handout via
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau speaks at an unknown location in this still image taken from an undated video released by Nigerian Islamist rebel group Boko Haram.

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However, better late than never, the attention came. Major political personalities came on board. Several countries have already extended support for Nigeria and appreciated its intention to fight the insurgency together. Boko Haram, which may be a young group, has become incredibly strong over the years. However, when examined deeper, there lies a "revealing prism of the conflict in Nigeria."

The very meaning of the group means "Western education is sin." Quite specific to be the name of a terrorist group, the name interprets more than what is generally represented in the media. Boko Haram stands amid the globalisation of almost everything in the world: products, services and most importantly ideologies. The Wahabi Islam which is actively promoted in Gulf countries has influenced northern Nigeria a lot. The region has people wearing Middle-Eastern clothes, streets with Arabic signs and mosques made by Saudi funds.

Post 9/11, Muslim schools were questioned for what they teach. Even though some claim that proper teaching of Islam will immune people against extremism, the bigger question is if those schools make their students capable enough with modern education to survive the storm of extremism. Boko Haram is against secular education. According to the organisation, modern education is a conspiracy against Muslim societies to maintain colonialist domination. The West intends to corrupt Islamic morals with liberal ideologies, it believes.

According to CNN research, Muslim students educated in religious schools are more likely to sympathise with the ideologies Boko Haram believes in. Even though being religious does not necessarily mean being a pro-Boko Haram, the vulnerability lies more in the Islamic education system and less in the religious belief of a Muslim.

That is exactly why Boko Haram has all the possibility to grow even stronger if there is no radical change in the education system in the country. The more people sympathise with it, the stronger it will get.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Boko Haram handout via / )
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau speaks at an unknown location in this still image taken from an undated video released by Nigerian Islamist rebel group Boko Haram.
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