Not the way to make the world a better place

This just in – today’s installment of Boko Haram attacks on churches in Nigeria. Body count for this week: 4 so far.

The violence Sunday in Jos and Biu, a city in hard-hit northeastern Borno state, comes as almost every weekend this year has seen churches targeted by a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram and other shadowy assailants exacerbating the country’s unease. While no group immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday’s dual attacks, they bore the hallmarks of the sect’s previous assaults, which continue unstopped despite a heavy military presence in the region.

You know this idea we were talking about, making the world a better place? This isn’t it.

Killing people isn’t it.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. Nigeria faces a growing wave of sectarian violence carried out by Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in Hausa. Boko Haram has been blamed for killing more than 560 people this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. The sect’s targets have included churches, police stations and other security buildings, often attacked by suicide car bombers across northern Nigeria.

That isn’t it. Boko Haram are not making the world a better place. The idea that any kind of genuine education is “sacrilege” or blasphemous or haram or Forbidden will not make the world a better place. (Genuine education does not include memorization of the Koran to the exclusion of everything else. That goes double when the memorization is in a language that the memorizer does not understand.) The spread of genuine education to all people will make the world a better place.

Just yesterday I published an article by Leo Igwe on Boko Haram and religious minorities in Northern Nigeria, in which he talks about some of the ways Boko Haram’s attacks will not make the world a better place.

Attacks on religious minorities could spark reprisal killings as has often been the case in the past, particularly in Southern Nigeria where Muslims are in the minority. In this way Nigeria is edging towards religious cleansing. Boko Haram attacks could provoke the cleansing of Christians in the Muslim majority states and of Muslims in the Christian majority communities. Already there are reports of Christians leaving Muslim majority communities for fear of being attacked and killed by militants.

That’s not a better world. People moving away from the places where they live because they are afraid of being killed or made destitute in religious cleansings – that’s not a better world. Boko Haram are doing it wrong.

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  1. says

    Western education is sacrilege? … Violence is justice?

    Haven’t I read something like this before?


    This message brought to you by the Ministry of Truth.

  2. lpetrich says

    “Boko” is a borrowing of English “book”.
    “Haram” is a borrowing from Arabic, meaning “forbidden”.

    “Boko Haram” can thus be loosely translated as “Books Forbidden”.

    According to Wikipedia, its name for itself is “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad” (Arabic: Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad).

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