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  • Once again, Boko Haram has made news by kidnapping women and children in Nigeria.

  • As we all know, they are a terrorist group, and it is often easy for me to replace the

  • actual group name, Boko Haram, with the generic post-9/11 understanding of the word "terrorist".

  • I know this is just my instinct to group things together to make them easier to understand,

  • but I'd like to think that I can handle more than just the one word explanation "terrorist".

  • So, who are the Boko Haram?

  • First off, their real name is not Boko Haram. That's just what the local people call them.

  • It roughly means, "Western Education Forbidden". But the actual group's name is The Congregation

  • of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad.

  • That is how they self identify and it says pretty much everything.

  • They are a group of people, holding on to traditional Islamic values, spreading and

  • fighting for those values.

  • Which on it's face doesn't sound that violent. And initially the group wasn't.

  • The group was started by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002, with the intention of creating a "true"

  • Islamic society under Sharia Law, which is the strictest most literal version of Islam.

  • They were always a radical group, but not always a dangerous one.

  • They were like a tiny motorcycle club of extreme Islamists, who'd have occasional and somewhat

  • escalating dust-ups with the authorities. Then in 2009 everything came to a head. Nigerian

  • security forces killed Yusuf and numerous of his followers in what the media at the

  • time called the Boko Haram Uprising, but his followers think of this incident more as a

  • massacre of their people than an uprising. And that is what turned them into the horrible,

  • militant, biker gang we have terrorizing innocent people today.

  • Their new leader, Abubakar Shekau hasn't changed the values of the group,

  • but he does have them more focused on the last word in their name. Jihad.

  • Specifically, violent jihad against anyone not practicing their exact form of extremist

  • fundamentalism.

  • Basically, they want four things. Nigeria to follow their strict version of sharia law.

  • The end of western education in Nigeria. Death to people who don't share their beliefs. And

  • death to the current government, which they call corrupt and blasphemous.

  • So, they are very close to exactly what you thought they were... terrorists.

  • But these guys have motorcycles and focus a touch more on ending Western Education than

  • your run of the mill terrorist group, hence the kidnapping of school children from

  • Westernized schools in Nigeria.

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Once again, Boko Haram has made news by kidnapping women and children in Nigeria.

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