Institute for Economics & Peace, the global think thank for measuring peace and its influence on economics as well as the influence of conflicts, comes out every year with Global Terrorism Index. It is a very interesting and challenging statistic because it shows us that we can’t know until the last day what will be the dark score of violence against humanity. The bloody triumph of terrorism for 2014 year confirmed that Boko Haram, the Nigerian jihadi organisation   caused 6,644 deaths in 2014 and the Islamic State was responsible for 6,073. This is valid for 2014 but it is also shocking because it is not so easy to imagine that one regional terrorist organisation has such a big proportion in global terrorism calculation. It is for expecting that 2015 year will change the relation of terrorist’s power and that ISIS will dominate because of so many incidents, but it is not sure because the African terrorism unites terrorism,  crimes, civil war and poverty into one horror story under one name, BOKO HARAM.

Describing the Boko Haram ideology requests that we travel back in the  1990s, when the ideas of this  terrorist group started being active, in northeast Nigeria, in  Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Mohammed Yusuf was the founding leader and ideologue who strongly believed that Nigerian society needs to be purged from westernized values, modernization and standards typical for the Western World and to be replaced with pure Islamic  credo. His sect,based on Wahhabi interpretation of Islam,  known as Boko Haram, was officially recognized in 2002 and it presented itself first as a religious center for poor Muslims who need and want Islamic education. The deeper goal was to spread the ideology and to make a solid base for jihad indoctrination and establishing of the Islamic State in the future. In the beginning, the leader of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf was calm imam and charming Islamic teacher who wanted to help Nigerian society to become more Islamic and to eliminate corruption from Nigerian political core. The financial  situation in this biggest African economy is very bad and about 60% of people live on less than $1 a day. The great amount of money goes directly to corrupted political elite, concentrated on the south of the country. For Yusuf, who was under Islamic propaganda by another theologian,  Ja’afar Mahmud Adamu, the corruption was western product and western evil and the only way to defeat western influence, as he believed, is to defeat those in Nigerian system who approve it and protect it. The conflict was expected and occurred in 2009, between Yusuf followers and local government, According to records, about 800 people were killed then and Boko Haram’s leader was tortured and killed by police. One year after, his deputy Abubakar Shekau relaunched the group and gathered the rest of survived and interested activists. He was not so peaceful as Yusuf, his ideas were more violent and aggressive and  at that moment, group has found many supporters and sympathizers.The new boss was more self-confident and his spirituality was a veiled, almost like a myth. Experts claim that he brought an ethnic element into Boko Haram ideology so that meant that he favored Kanuri tribal rules mixed with Shari’ah law interests and Wahhabi knowledge.

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The formal name of Boko Haram is Jamaat Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Dawah wal-Jihad (Arabic: جماعة أهل السنة للدعوة والجهاد ) which means ‘People of the Ways of the Prophet for Proselytisation and Jihad.’ The group never accepted the western name Boko Haram but the mentioned name was given to emphasize that those terrorists were fighting firtsly against western education. BOKO means book, secular education and HARAM in Arabic language is something religious forbidden. In two words is the whole concept of African jihadists. What is very important is to note that islamic ideology of Boko Haram is always merged with local African tradition and tribal behavior. They reject every non-Islamic authority and the absence of implemented  Shari’ah law into Nigerian state consider as an excuse to fight against political system of the country and all of those who oppose their NigerianSalafi-jihadi concept of establishing the state and the society.It is permissible, according to them, to kill anyone who fight their ideology or question it as their leader states:“Now our religion and our way of worship is nothing but killings, killings and killings! Kill and slaughter but don’t eat them.” An average people would think it is a kind of African cannibalism and anger based on imported Islamic teachings but it is everything precisely planed and organized and the goal is on the top, to get rid of any Christian /Western ingredients in Nigerian political, economical, social and cultural architecture. Boko Haram doesn’t have limits in jihad, everything is jihad. Killing is jihad. The brutal elimination of opponents is something what makes Boko Haram recognizable among many others terrorist organizations. Abubakar Shekau’s group kills politicians, government workers, Muslims who don’t share their visions and interpretations of religion, women and children who have different views. Everyone is on the black list. Everyone is an enemy of the delusional project of Islamic state of Nigeria. They are recruiting young and mostly non-educated poor men to join them and to contribute the jihad, Regarding to media, it is about 15.000 terrorists actively included in Boko Haram movement. Not all of them share pure ideological infatuation but they share financial or simply safety interests. They join to terrorists just to be safe from ties also helps the spreading of terrorist influence. This African recruitment process is more localized and regional based than religious inspired as it was a case with the ME terrorism. In 2014, Boko Haram started a campaign of territorial conquest and forming a caliphate.They  took a big part of Borno state and parts of Yobe and Adamawa states but it is obviously that they are looking at their Middle eastern brothers and the Islamic state structure over there. However, the Nigerian case is very specific, country is divided between south and north and violence happens on daily basis because this terrorist organisation is kidnapping, terrorizing  and killing also the people from surrounding countries:  Mali, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, which also share the trouble making destiny of this region.

On March, 7, 2015 Boko  Haram leader Abubakar Shekau officially swore an oath of allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS). In his pledge,  known as “bayat,” Shekau, according to some sources, accepted the authority of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and offered  to support him in times of “difficulty and prosperity.”In the same time, he invited all Muslims worldwide to follow the Islamic Caliphate and to show loyalty to the caliph. This was also one of expected steps made by one of the largest terrorist groups in Africa but it is also showing the ties between the Islamic State and its African franchise. It seems that those relations are colored more with differences than with similarities. We should never forget that African terrorism has face of local tribal rules dressed in Islamic radicalism. They are using violence without any plan and almost rapidly and randomly. The ISIS terrorists are also very brutal but they practice violence as a part of their politics and rationally when they need and where they need. Because of claiming the fake state but also inherited the real state machinery, they put violence under the excuse of  Shari’ah law implementation. That is a terrorist state. Boko Haram is a terrorist city, if we can call it – without the real administrative support and still not enough empowered to announce the state or regional political importance. Combining the  guerrilla warfare, primitive ways of violence and high-tech  terrorism’s advantages, they turned Africa into  continent of  security disaster. They do not rule the whole continent but their influence is growing day by day, especially since they became the Islamic state long arm in Africa. Their massacres over hundreds of innocent civilians, abuse of children (mostly girls) in suicide terrorism, attack on public places and hurting ordinary people make the terrible folklore of African jihadism. I don’t know why but I doubt that the bloody business cooperation between ISIS and Boko Haram will have any success. First of all, ISIS has a sense of entitlement. They choose who they make friendship with because they believe they are so pure in their Islamic ideology.  The second, the Islamic state wont tolerate jihadi ideology dirtied by local African  shaman and tribal believes and traditions of violence. The third one, the leadership will be always the reason for conflicts and splitting up. Boko Haram will not accept the dominance from ISIS over the African area like ISIS will never adjust on Boko Haram irrational and non-consolidated policy of violence towards state authorities.How it could?ISIS is a state. Fake state but still a state. It doesn’t consider itself anymore as outlaw subject but as a regular state with Shari’ah Law. For Boko Haram,is a huge step to make Islamic Caliphate in Africa and even if it has a serious ideas about it, there are so many cold   differences which will make them both stuck in the middle of nowhere.


Comparing those two terrorist organisations, make us aware of fragile global security. The non-Muslim world is being surrounded by terrorists from almost every geographical side. Maybe that is just a feeling. But thousands of killed people by Boko Haram and ISIS aren’t just a feeling, they are a real fact, the footprint of terrorism, the blue marks of savagery on the soft body of mankind. Unfortunately, reality of their madness is evident. It is not anymore about religion or ideology but about money, interests and love for power, intelligently  packed in the religious and morally hypocritical excuse to kill anyone who is against them, not against God.

Forbidden book….Boko Haram….where is a knowledge , demons can’t dance.



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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !