Boko Haram is an African organization founded in Nigeria by Mohammed Yusuf and succeeded by Abubakar Shekau after Yusuf’s death in 2009. Haram means forbidden, therefore their ideology is based on what is forbidden in Islam. Boko Haram can be translated as meaning that Western education is forbidden, but its agenda includes many other things that the group claims are forbidden in Islam. Therefore, they enforce and forbid voting in elections because they do not believe that democracy is in accordance with Islam. They forbid western style clothing, along with secular education, as well as the sending of women to school. This is why they kidnapped and “converted” 300 girls in Nigeria just last year. The group has become well known because of their regular bombings, assassinations, abductions, and direct confrontation with the governments in Africa especially in Nigeria. First, it presented itself as an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, but now the infamy of ISIS has changed their allegiance and recently the group has been seen using ISIS’s flag to validate their identity as ISIS in Africa.
This is precisely why the group has been declared a caliphate in areas under Abubakar Shekau’s control. The group claims to be influenced by the Quranic verse, “Anyone who is not governed by what Allah has revealed is among the transgressors” (Quran 5:44). The Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan continues to preach and believe the same message, therefore the recent attack in Peshawar, which claimed the lives of 141 people (mostly children) at a military school in Pakistan was justified by the Pakistani Taliban as Jihad. Al-Qaida, the Taliban, ISIS, Boko Haram and various other small Islamic organizations continue to believe, claim and preach the message of Jihad, Sharia and an Islamic government in the world. Internally their objectives unite them, even though externally they are working under different names.