The causes of Islamic fundamentalist violent movements in postcolonial Nigeria

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Abstract


Nigeria is one of the first African states to be confronted with the violent Islamist fundamentalist group popularly known as Boko Haram. It declared war on the Nigerian secular state in 2009, and implements a program, if successful, to transform the country into an Islamic theocratic state led by sharia (Islamic law), in the country where only half of the population are Muslims. The article starts with clarification of the structure of the Nigerian society from the linguistic perspective, and from the point of view of political cultures of different societies, which were colonized and came under one British colonial rule to 1960. This study analyses the history of Islamist fundamental movements starting from the late 1970s, and focuses on the latest such group - Boko Haram. The authors examine the social, economical, and political causes of the brutal violent conflict in the northeastern Nigeria, which was the heartland of the pre-colonial Kanem Bornu state and the center of Kanuri national culture. Finally, the authors identify social and political causes of the developmental chain of Salafist movements, particularly from 2009 when Boko Haram declared war against the Nigerian state in order to transform it into an Islamic caliphate; thus, there was a catastrophic human rights violation by the Nigerian Army in the name of fighting the Boko Haram terrorists. The authors do not suggest any decisions and do not provide any final conclusions - they admit the uncertainty of the current situation in Nigeria and call for the further research of internal politics tendencies under the new government led by President Buhari, who can either continue to solve the problems of the country by aggressive military means as two previous presidents of Nigeria, or, on the contrary, can prefer peaceful and conciliatory measures.


About the authors

A Kumsa

Charles University

Author for correspondence.
Email: alemayehu.kumsa@fhs.cuni.cz
Prague, Czech Republic

J Šubrt

Charles University

Email: jiri.subrt@ff.cuni.cz
Prague, Czech Republic

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