Between Terrorism and Innovative Proselytization
Boko Haram, in spite of the tendency to now simply dismiss it as a terrorist group, unquestionably took off from a desire for a new form of Islamic practice in Nigeria and thus embodied what can be seen as ‘innovative’ attempt at fundamentalist Islamic proselytization. The group has undoubted fundamentalist credentials and sought the establishment of a new religio-political organization as most millennial groups. While there is no doubting the fact that Boko Haram’s roots lie in Sunni Islam which is widespread in Nigeria, it adopted a very strict Salafist interpretation of this version of Islam that is both unique and separate from that embraced by the broader ‘ummah’. Since 2013, it has veered off making war on the government and its agents and has become more or less a violent group with intent on spreading fear and panic in the general public. A distinguishing feature of the insurgence is that it has killed more Muslims than any other Islamic fundamentalist uprising in the last four decades in Nigeria.
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