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Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 363.325 THU Adult NonFiction Book

On Order



A comprehensive history of one of the world's deadliest jihadist groups

Boko Haram is one of the world's deadliest jihadist groups. It has killed more than twenty thousand people and displaced more than two million in a campaign of terror that began in Nigeria but has since spread to Chad, Niger, and Cameroon as well. This is the first book to tell the full story of this West African affiliate of the Islamic State, from its beginnings in the early 2000s to its most infamous violence, including the 2014 kidnapping of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls.

Drawing on sources in Arabic and Hausa, rare documents, propaganda videos, press reports, and interviews with experts in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Niger, Alexander Thurston sheds new light on Boko Haram's development. He shows that the group, far from being a simple or static terrorist organization, has evolved in its worldview and ideology in reaction to events. Chief among these has been Boko Haram's escalating war with the Nigerian state and civilian vigilantes.

The book closely examines both the behavior and beliefs that are the keys to understanding Boko Haram. Putting the group's violence in the context of the complex religious and political environment of Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, the book examines how Boko Haram relates to states, politicians, Salafis, Sufis, Muslim civilians, and Christians. It also probes Boko Haram's international connections, including its loose former ties to al-Qaida and its 2015 pledge of allegiance to ISIS.

An in-depth account of a group that is menacing Africa's most populous and richest country, the book also illuminates the dynamics of civil war in Africa and jihadist movements in other parts of the world.

Author Notes

Alexander Thurston is visiting assistant professor of African studies at Georgetown University and the author of Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching, and Politics .

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Thurston (Salafism in Nigeria), visiting assistant professor of African history at Georgetown University, combines narrative and analysis to make a balanced and persuasive case that the causes of Boko Harams rise in Nigeria have been oversimplified. The group is best understood, he argues, not as a project of global jihadists or a response to economic inequality but asthe outcome of dynamic, locally grounded interactions between religion and politics. Boko Harams policies and decisions are flexible and adapt to external events: religious impulse, economic malaise, political dysfunction. These interactions began in the 1970s with a religious question: what did it mean to be Muslim in a Nigeria shaken to its foundations by civil war? A popular answer was provided by Salafist preachers, whose vision of Islam as providing a comprehensive, official, legal framework for public life was shared to some degree by almost three-fourths of Nigerias Muslims. The resulting confrontation with a secular state was exacerbated by the Muslim Norths growing sense of exclusion from the countrys economic development. An abortive uprising in 2009 led toclandestine regrouping, and then... terrorism and guerilla warfare; by 2011 anti-Christian and antisecular rhetoric had sharpened intohardline religious exclusivism, and by 2013 northern Nigeria was in an enduring state of war. Thurston ends by consideringsoft measures best suited to resolve the crisis. This is a superb, comprehensively researched study of a complex and challenging movement. (Dec.)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
1 The Lifeworld of Muhammad Yusufp. 34
2 Preaching Exclusivism, Playing Politicsp. 83
3 "Chaos Is Worse Than Killing"p. 142
4 Total War in Northeastern Nigeriap. 197
5 Same War, New Actorsp. 241
Conclusionp. 300
Selected Bibliographyp. 307
Indexp. 329

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