Another Look At The Boko Haram Philosophy- Ahmad Salkida

Another Look At The Boko Haram Philosophy
By Ahmad Salkida
Terror initiated bomb blasts from the Jama’atu Ahlus-Sunnah
Lidda’Awati Wal Jihad sect in Nigeria otherwise known as the Boko
Haram, may decline or escalate for any period of time but the
indicators for overall peace may truly be far -fetched. The sense of government engagement beyond unleashing military combatants in the hugely
affected and now paralyzed North Eastern parts of the country is
utterly undefined. Indications in military circles and indeed
conventional military wisdom do not suggest that the Nigeria Military
has the capacity to utterly and decisively defeat the terror band.

The brand of terror introduced into Nigeria by the insurgents is not
an affliction that is proverbially skin deep. It is deeper beyond the
skin and requires even much deeper strategic and sophisticated
engagement. Sadly, all that has been seen from players at the policy
level has been anything but reckless . There’s been so
much opportunism; so much of personal profiteering and so much shadow
boxing . The superficial is at the driving seat where professionalism
is in dire need.

Nigerians both at public and private career engagements who classify the
Boko Haram “a meddlesome violent band based in parts of the North’ do so at
their own utter peril. Wiser assessment of the sect suggests several
scores of thousands with hugely expanding cells across most parts of
Nigeria and in significant parts of West Africa. Every assessment of
the sect even at its embryo stage by Islamic scholars, government
officials and security intelligence has repeatedly missed the live
wire. Yes, there have been violence and
bloodletting served from the sect’s terror machinery but the real fuse
feeding the violence has been missed till date.

Many commentators have suggested that the insurgency was the offshoot of growing
unemployment. Clearly, there’s huge and frightening degree of
unemployment in Northern Nigeria. But the real fuse that drives this
level of terror is with the sect’s doctrinaire and ideologue. What we
are dealing with is a growing Muslim ideologue that greatly appeals
to young people.

The root cause of the conflict is ideological in nature. However The doctrines
that the leaders of the Boko Haram founded their sect cannot be
separated from the global Jihad movement that exploits the widespread
suffering, resentment, and anger in the Muslim world. In late 2002
when late Muhammad Yusuf and late Muhammad Alli began to take an
interest in the global Jihadi movement, they were not driven by issues
in their surrounding instead, they were inspired by a 13th
century scholar, Ibn Taymiyya who was a staunch defender of Sunni
Islam based on strict adherence to the Qur’an and authentic
Sunna (practices) of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Ibn Taymiyya believed that
these two sources contain all the religious and spiritual guidance
necessary for salvation in the hereafter. Thus he rejected the
arguments and ideas of philosophers and Sufis regarding religious
knowledge, spiritual experiences and ritual practices, said many
accounts. Ibn Taymiyya was said to have disagreed with many of his
fellow Sunni scholars because of his rejection of the flexibility of the
other schools of jurisprudence in Islam. He believed that the four accepted
schools of jurisprudence had become stagnant and sectarian, and also
that they were being improperly influenced by aspects of Greek logic
and thought as well as Sufi mysticism. His challenge to the leading
scholars of the day was to return to an understanding of Islam in
practice and in faith, based solely on the Qur’an and Sunna, said one

Late Yusuf carried most of Ibn Taymiyya philosophies during his life
time crusade and named the headquarters’ of the sect that was later
bombed by security agents in Maiduguri ‘Ibn Taymiyya Masjid.’ Though a
few moderate clerics challenged the doctrinal veracity of what late
Yusuf preached to his followers with vigour and charisma but it did not go deep enough
nor was it far reaching. These clerics included Sheikh Isa Aliyu
Pantami who is now abroad and Sheikh Jafar Mahmud Adam of blessed
memory, who was assassinated in his Mosque in 2007 in Kano.

Late Yusuf was prevented from preaching in several mosques all over
northern Nigeria and was denied TV/Radio appearances in Borno state. But this
alienation worked to his advantage as he became the superior voice
among an army of unwitting youths unable to defy him. The religious
and traditional monarchies across West Africa and in many parts of the
Muslim world for over a 100 years now only narrowed on the subject of Jihad
of the sword to consolidate their rule. However the rise of Sunni based Jihadi
movements that terrorize the status quo necessitated most monarchies
to encourage and moralize constructive Jihad and the Jihad with
oneself amongst the ordinary people.

And when the administration of former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff backed
by late President Yar’adua opted for a military solution to an
ideological problem, a methodical and more vicious transformation of
the sect into an outpost of terrorist affliction began on the Nigerian

On the 11th of June 2009, at the Customs roundabout in Maiduguri
nearly 20 unarmed members of the sect during a funeral procession were
shot with live ammunition for refusing to wear safety helmets, by
members of ‘Operation Flush,’ the official platform for Sheriff’s
field confrontation with the sect, since his vicious political thugs,
the ECOMOG, could not march the more organized followers of late Yusuf
at that time.

After the unlawful June 11 shootings that triggered the July 26 Boko
Haram uprising in Maiduguri and in many parts of the north, government
did not see the need for reconciliation, sect members were tracked and
summarily executed, properties belonging to sect members were
confiscated, people that are associated with Boko Haram in any way
recoiled in shame and dishonour. Members of the sect then saw the need
to regroup and redeem what their new leader, Imam Abubakar Shekau
called their honour. Life for residents in Borno and Yobe states, in
the language of Hobbes, suddenly became nasty, brutish and short. It
is instructive to note here that in the current situation
investigations by this writer has shown that there is no reason to
believe that this government can get to engage in direct negotiations
with the sect. This is because there is a missing element that will
make it difficult for direct negotiations to occur between the two
antagonistic. This missing element is confidence.
Salkida is an independent journalist. He can be reached and twitter @contactSalkida

Views: 1102

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Comment by Femi Ibrahim on November 7, 2012 at 1:32pm

Salkida, this is great analysis. I wish to appreciate you for your great contribution on Boko Haram phenomenon. I equally want you to know that I relied heavily on the interview you grated Financial Time which was reproduced by the Nation Newspaper for a Master Thesis I submitted to the European Peace University on the classification of Boko Haram.

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