By Paul Wissmiller, Staff Writer
A new type of sushi? Chinese food? An illegal drug? These were a few of the theories Olivet students conjured up when they heard the words “Boko Haram.” But Boko Haram is none of those things. It is a deadly terrorist organization based in the country of Nigeria.
“People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad,” also known as Boko Haram, was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf, as a Muslim political activist organization. Their main purpose was to campaign against Western education for Muslims in the country of Nigeria.
Boko Haram is currently well equipped with weapons and funding, due to their successful raids on Nigerian banks and military bases. The group’s capabilities were demonstrated in a horrifying manner earlier this month, While most of the world’s political leaders and news media were focused on the terror attacks in Paris, France, Boko Haram staged their deadliest assault yet.
The group attacked the Nigerian city of Baga, causing over 2,000 confirmed civilian deaths and displacing up to another 30,000. In a CNN report, Amnesty International’s Daniel Eyre said, “this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram’s ongoing onslaught against the civilian population.”
The organization did not receive much attention until 2009, when its leaders decided to take things to the next step by officially making Boko Haram a terrorist organization.
Since then, Boko Haram has launched a massive attack on Nigeria, capturing land and declaring it a part of the groups “caliphate,” or a religious police state ruled by Sharia law. The Nigerians living inside the caliphate, which the BBC reports is currently “the size of Belgium,” are not allowed to practice Western religion, vote for their leaders, wear any non-traditional clothes, and invest or take part in any non-Islamic education systems.
Boko Haram has committed many terrorist acts, including bombing different public buildings, assassinating political leaders, killing non-Boko Haram Muslims and Christians, and kidnapping and selling into slavery over 250 girls from their homes last April.
This kidnapping did manage to get some Western attention. Current Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, said “I abducted your girls, I will sell them in the market, and marry them off,” according to the BBC. Shekau is also the spiritual leader of Boko Haram, and has released videos of him preaching his non-orthodox radical Islam to his followers. “I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill – the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams,” he said.
It is clear Boko Haram means business, but it is unclear right now if the United States is willing to get involved. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “All those responsible for these recurring terrorist attacks must be held accountable,” but as of now the US has not made any further moves regarding this terrorist group.