Origin, Growth and Ideology of Boko Haram

  • Edlyne Eze Anugwom
Part of the New Directions in Islam book series (NDI)


In spite of ambivalence and even confusion, Boko Haram is largely an independent development with roots dating back to 2002. At the early stage, it was known as Yusufiyya, a loosely organized group of believers swayed by the preaching and peculiar interpretations of the Qur’an by Yusuf. The group began crystallizing into a proper sect around 2005 when Yusuf resurfaced in Nigeria following a hiatus in Saudi Arabia after the Kanamma episode in 2003, which was largely autonomous from Boko Haram. It was shortly after the 2005 re-emergence of Yusuf that the group began being referred to as Boko Haram. The nature of Boko Haram was radically altered by the 2009 face-off with security agencies and extra-judicial killing of Mohammed Yusuf. In spite of some conventional accounts that the sect has no ideology, it is the position here that the group has what can be regarded as an ideology built around a consistent disavowal of modernity, quest for unadulterated Islam, immediacy of jihad, takfir and unfettered Shari’a.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edlyne Eze Anugwom
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of Nigeria NsukkaNsukkaNigeria

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