Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Boko Haram in Nigeria

Very recently my country, Nigeria was rocked by violence which shook Nigeria and the world as a whole. For yet another time, Nigeria made front page news all over the world for the wrong reason.
The group behind the latest violence in northern Nigeria is known by several different names, including al-Sunnah wal Jamma, or Followers of Muhammad's Teachings in Arabic, and Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden" in the local Hausa dialect.

The group was founded in 2002 in Maiduguri by Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf. In 2004 it moved to Kanamma, Yobe State, where it set up a base called "Afghanistan", used to attack nearby police outposts, killing police officers.

Yusuf was hostile to democracy and the secular education system, vowing that "this war that is yet to start would continue for long" if the political and educational system was not changed.
In Bauchi the group was reported as refusing to mix with local people. The group includes members who come from neighbouring Chad and speak only Arabic.
Boko Haram opposes not only Western education, but Western culture and modern science as well.In a 2009 BBC interview, Yusuf stated that the belief that the world is a sphere is contrary to Islam and should be rejected, along with Darwinism and the theory that rain comes from water evaporated by the sun.

What I find so ironic is the fact that the Western culture they oppose makes up a great part of their lives.........the guns and ammunition they use (and used) were all Western. As a Nigerian, it is very saddening that the Northern part of my country has been and continues to be the site of a lot of violence which are mostly religious in nature.
In July 2009 the Nigerian police started investigating the group, following reports that the group was arming itself. Several leaders were arrested in Bauchi, sparking deadly clashes with Nigerian security forces and the estimated deaths of at least 700 people.
I pray this kind of violence would come to an end and become history.