Essay: IDEOLOGICAL TERRORISM, BOKOHARAM AS A CASE STUDY

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Background to the Study

Ideology is a powerful message that motivates and propels ordinary human beings into action. Ideology, a dynamic and an evolving brief system, is created by the interpretation of events by ideologues. Ideology, not poverty or illiteracy, is the key driver of politically motivated violence. Ideology frames organizational structure, leadership and membership motivation, recruitment and support, and shapes the strategies and tactics adopted by the group (Rohan, 2005)

Jihadi ideologues and group leaders craft their ideology by interpreting, reinterpreting or misinterpreting religion and politics. Ideology is used to attract and retain recruits as members, supporters and sympathizers. The singular history and perspective of an individual may make such person pretty much powerless to a specific terrorist or extremist belief system. Using ideology, contemporary Jihad groups recruit followers from a cross- section of society – the rich, the poor, the educated and the less educated. To generate both recruits and support, they indoctrinate their potential and existing support base. Ideology is inculcated by disseminating it in the form of information or propaganda using lectures, speeches, pronouncements, writings, etc.

In terms of the current terrorist organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa, Boko Haram is undoubtedly one of the most high profile and among the more long established. Following a panel session on the group at the 2013 conference of the Society for Terrorism Research at the university of East London, two of the panellists discuss the conceptualisation of the group, the nature and scale of the threat posed by the group, and what responses might offer a viable route away from the violence that has affected particularly Northern Nigeria since the onset of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Typical of any group engaged in political violence, the radicalization, de-radicalization and re-radicalization of its group identity, ideology and modus operandi changes over time. In describing Boko Haram as an ideological terrorist group, two factors are worth noting.

Starting from 2002, Bokoharram sect’s tactics and footprint cum ideological cell have experienced some transformation in the cardinal regions of the country. Bokoharram is a product of the modern-day re-birth which can be traced to historical clash of civilizations between Traditional Islamic jurisprudence in the North of Nigeria and its amalgamation into the secular Nigerian nation state of 1914 interred in the colonial legacy of British rule.

This terrorist group can in this manner be seen as traditional, passionate Islamic sects, who are on a very basic level vehemently against any materialistic or irreligious principle labelled ungodliness in their spiritual existence cum the western world image of politics and free-world opportunity enjoyed by westerners in all aspects of life which does not exempt freedom to belong to any religion you want to be part of. They are always ready to spring up Jihad-motivated propagation of terror as their main doorway to turn Nigeria to an Islamic State.

Regarding its structure and usual way of doing things, the sect could be branded as indistinct or unstructured (consolidating complex warfare methods and innovation with an assortment of target casualties) and unknown (because of the absence of a representatives with whom, international or government bodies negotiate with). From a vital perspective, the group depends robustly on media reputation and irregular attacks so as to stay significant as a balancing power to the common business as usual. Thus, its activity adjust it to more settled jihad systems, for example, Al-Qaida and its divisions in Africa with a possibility to advance into a much more prominent risk in other African Countries

On the other hand, Boko Haram’s radicalization owes truthfully to the securitization and dynamic position of Nigeria’s state security services towards its participation specifically and the Northern Nigeria as a whole, which has successfully given the sect a dominant opportunity to become a de-factor pro-militia, attracting pity from terror-affected families and empathy within the elite for what is for the most part considered as incompetency of the central government to tackle difference pores in the Northern Nigeria and improved public welfare.

Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study are to

(i) describe the conceptual ideology of Boko Haram

(ii) identify the objectives of Boko Haram;

(iii) examine the level of damage done to the society by Boko Haram.

Significance of the Study

Since Boko Haram is an insurgent group, its main actions had been directly or indirectly carried towards the destruction of life and properties with the view to imposing a religious (Islam) judgement on the society. Issues dealing with religions (believes) are so delicate and sensitive to put a sharp judgement, therefore, this study will discuss the ideological terrorism in lieu of Boko Haram and analyse the various religious (Christians and Muslims) view of the sect.

Scope of the Study

This study covers some individuals, may be seeking for solution and long lasting intervention of peace in the society. The opinion of the clergy and general populace will not be left out.

LITERATURE REVIEW

On Tuesday, April 15, 2014, the terrorist organization Boko Haram attacked a girls’ school in Chibok, Borno state, in northern Nigeria, abducting between 250-300 young school girls. Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, released a video on May 5, threatening to sell the girls as “wives” and citing ideological opposition to the education of young girls. The abduction and subsequent developments have prompted several nations to send logistical support teams and the Nigerian government to offer a $300,000 reward for information leading to the girls’ rescue. On May 5, Boko Haram took advantage of a distracted military and attacked the unprotected town of Gamboru Ngala, reportedly killing up to 300 civilians (START, 2014)

There is no doubt, the above information or news as the case may be cannot be given any description or nomenclature except the various synonyms of terrorism, uprising, insurgent and so on. To start with, U.S. Department of Defense defined terrorism as a calcu¬lated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological (Burgess, 2003)

The rationale for terrorism has always been revolving round politics and religion which has close proximity with the term “ideology” or “dogmatism”. For instance, Samuel Huntington (1996) proposed that cultural and religious differences between civilizations worldwide have become the primary source of terrorism today. This can be easily observed in the concept of new terrorism. Terrorists want to produce a Clash of Civilizations or cause radical changes in the U.S. presence in the Middle East. The Clash of Civilizations is akin to the War of Ideas, where ideals and ideolo¬gies clash between the West and the Muslim world (which continues to oppose Western political forms such as democracy). Both the Clash of Civilizations and the War of Ideas give rise to a controversial concept: the new world order, a wide-ranging global agenda intended to change the world, establish new ideologies, and eventually replace sovereign nation-states.

Generally, religious terrorists compose their own community or population. They are not worried about upsetting their supporters with their terrorist attacks. They view them¬selves as people accountable only to God. Terrorists may not even deny responsibility for their acts of destruction. They oppose any type of negotiation. Terrorists don’t want a seat at the table; they want to destroy the table and everyone sitting at it (Morgan, 2004)

However, Boko Haram is a violent Sunni jihadist group founded by cleric Mohammed Yusuf, who was previously a leader within a Salafist group in the 1990s, and was inspired by 14th century fundamentalist scholar Ibn Taymiyyah. As Boko Haram’s alliances with al-Qa’ida–linked groups, such as al-Qa’ida in the Land of Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM), have strengthened, its interpretation of violent jihad has changed, increasing the scope of its targets and areas of activity beyond the borders of Nigeria (START, 2014)

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