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The Dangers of Religious Fanaticism

The Dangers of Religious Fanaticism

By: Andres Galvis and Maria Valeria Delgaldillo

Boko Haram has been in the spotlight of most major news outlets throughout the world due to their increasing terrorist activities in Nigeria. Yet, this group is not new in history; it has been present for many decades in Nigerian history.

This organization formed in 1927 by a preacher named Mohammed Marwa. His sermons were extreme about the westernization of Nigeria and he often said, “reading any book other than the Koran was sinful and a sign of paganism.”

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In 1970, he began to gain attention, because his sermons started to become anti- government, which caused riots in 1982, killing Mohammed himself. Even though he died his movement kept going, and his followers kept rioting. This conflict cost the life of more than 3,000 people including both the rioters and governmental forces.

In the end of 1980, the followers of the movement, which are mostly in the North and are Muslim, wanted to impose Sharia Law. The government ignored their request and established a federal government in 1999. The northerners responded violently and demanded the law to be imposed.

In 2002, a group of Islamic clerics took advantage of the anger of the these people and named the movement,  “Boko Haram”. This group is radical, but did not become violent until 2009. In that year they became engaged in riots against the police killing 800 people. After this event the group became committed to major crimes, such as the drug trade, robberies and human trafficking These operations helped them finance their military operations and they started to receive training and aid from Al Qaeda and later on ISIS.

As Boko Haram grows stronger, the Nigerian army is having trouble defending their cities from these insurgent attacks, hopefully in the future Nigerian aid from their allies will stop this menace from gaining any more strength.

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