ANALYSIS

HATRED OF WESTERN IDEAS FUEL BOKO HARAM

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The dreaded Boko Haram, responsible for the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok village in the northeastern Borno state that has shocked the world, seems to be fueled more by hatred of the Western ideas.

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This is what the article “What gives Boko Haram its strength” written by David Jacobson. Atta Barkindo and Derek Harvey published at cnn.com also indicate.

“Boko Haram translates as ‘Western education is sin.’ Rarely has the name of a terrorist organization revealed so much, but it does in ways beyond the surface interpretations sometimes portrayed in the media,” the article said.

It added that, “In Boko Haram, we see a total storm coming together: Globalization has brought Western ideas and imagery, especially around issues of women and sexuality, into the most patriarchal corners of the world. Globalization, through Internet and broader interconnectedness, has facilitated and favored global ideologies, including globalized versions of Islam, some of which are extremist.”

Also fueling the rise of Boko Haram is the fact that the “Christian South” in Nigeria enjoys more wealth than the “Muslim North.”

“That economic gap is growing rapidly. The roots go back to the British colonial period from the late 19th century to independence in 1960. The British ruled the South directly, which was also being rapidly Christianized by missionaries. Missionaries ran many of the schools,” the article stated.

“In the north, some missionary schools were established, but traditional elites always resisted them for obvious religious reasons and because those schools threatened to generate an alternative elite,” it added.

On the kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls, Boko Haram sees it as a “triple strike” against Western ideas, and sees “obscenity” of getting Nigerian girls into schools, the article added.

Willing to talk
As of Wednesday, the Nigerian government said it was willing to talk to Boko Haram militants, as the United States sent its top Africa general for talks on the rescue mission of more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls.

The governor of Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state, Kashim Shettima, confirmed that all of the girls shown in the latest video released by the militant Islamist group had been identified as students in the school attacked in Chibok last month.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday requested a six-month extension to the state of emergency declared in Borno and two neighboring states a year ago because of the “daunting” security situation.

Special duties minister Taminu Turaki restated the Nigerian government’s position that it was open to negotiations on ending Boko Haram’s increasingly bloody five-year insurgency.

Turaki, who last year headed a committee tasked with pursuing an amnesty pact with some of the group’s fighters, told Agence France-Presse: “Nigeria has always been willing to dialogue with the insurgents.”

“We are willing to carry that dialogue on any issue, including the girls kidnapped in Chibok, because certainly we are not going to say that [the abduction]is not an issue,” he added.

THE TIMES WITH REPORT FROM AFP

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