By Ita Offiong
Mar 26, 2018
Following the return of 104 students of Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi in Yobe State, their abductors left a caveat that their parents should never again send them to school. Boko Haram is a phrase formed from both Hausa and Islamic words while ‘boko’ in Hausa means animist in reference to Western education, the Arabic word ‘Haram’ both metaphorically and literally means ’sin’ and ‘forbidden’ respectively. These two words therefore translate ‘western education is forbidden’.
The group which was founded by late Mohamed Yusuf in 2002 in Borno state claims their philosophy is based on Sunni Islam, also has a major gold of radicalizing its followers to see western civilization as being sinful, it also abhors modern science and technology. In their view, the Nigerian state is run by unbelievers, thus prompting a declaration of war against it.
Now, for a group which claims to be Sunni Muslims to openly deprecate education that comes from the West in this manner, it only smacks of hypocrisy or ignorance of Sunnis’ world-view. For instance, countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Syria and in fact about 90 percent of Muslims in the world are Sunnis, many of whom have embraced Western civilization. Recent surveys of Muslims’ demographics show that out of the 1.8 billion Muslims, 1.6 billions are Sunnis. Dubai in United Arab Emirates which has fast become a global delight of modern day wonders of Western technology is populated by Sunnis. Though the country’s public school is based on Arabic curriculum but most private schools follow Western curricular.
Also, Saudi Arabian educational system was modeled after Egyptian educational curriculum which was greatly influenced by the West particularly the French model. In an increasingly globalized world, the dichotomies in philosophies, ideologies and religions are being gradually bridged by engulfing influence and universality of science and technology. As far as technology is making life a lot much easier in all fields of human endeavours, it is only foolishness for any group living in the 21st century world to denounce western civilization this way.
What is even more paradoxical is the fact that those Boko Haram fighters are using the weapons produced through the knowledge of Western technology. For instance the fire arm used by them to press home their demands was invented by an American, Richard Gatling from Cincinnati University.
Also leaders of Boko Haram do make press releases occasionally through different social media platforms to propagate their ideologies. The devices they use are all products of Western education. By far the most ridiculous was the discovery that they also transact business and receive patronage in dollars, pound sterling and Euros.
In the light of these realities, one therefore wonders if it is possible to truly live a normal life in a technology-driven world without embracing Western civilization one way or the other. What then informed this genocide passionately pursued by those murderers who wage Jihad against Western education? Besides, if core Islamic nations we have considered earlier have embraced Western civilization in some ways, then what kind of a country does Boko Haram seek to actualize in this globalized world? It should be noted that Sharia law which governs religious, political and socio-economic lives of Muslims in Islamic countries does not do away with Western education. Also, Arabic education based on Islamic orientation is not tantamount to extirpating Western culture in its entirety. It should therefore be clear to all that such a world as envisaged by Boko Haram proponents is only possible in a psychologically imbalanced state of mind which is perpetually harassed by narcotics.
They obviously know that what they pretend to fight for is an impossible task. But how can they rationalize these senseless killings if not by trying to find justification in some religious fallacies, deceits and distortions? Imagine a young man being radicalized to the extent that he believes that when he commits murder or suicide for Allah’s sake, seven virgins would be his wives in heaven. No doubt young men who have been indoctrinated in this way would obviously see shedding of innocent blood as worship to their God. Is it not surprising that all these are done in God’s name? Allahu Akbar, yet innocent people are killed, women are raped, bombs are detonated, girls are abducted and defiled, still others are robbed, properties are burnt rendering many homeless while some become orphans, widows and even maimed. What an incomprehensible contradiction and bestiality in the worship of God?
For the North Eastern Nigeria, a region already rated as the poorest in the country, recording its superlatives only in the negatives to have been promised a socio-political system devoid of Western influence, then the entire area would have become a ghost town in no time. Already the high illiteracy rate coupled with abject poverty and diseases there have made living a harrowing experience. Aids occasionally come from international agencies in response to these humanitarian crises, imagine where doors would have been shut against such interventions in the name of not having anything to do with Western education.
This Boko Haram is driven by selfish political motives decorated in religious colouration. The heartless massive bloodletting which trails this movement is that of intimation and disillusionment. This group is obviously frustrated as they have not received expected support from the people they banked their hope on within the country.
Western education is the tool for the advancement of humanity; therefore no normal life is possible now a days without it. Government should rise to the occasion and ensure that adequate sensitization and security measures are put in place to encourage parents to continue to send their children to acquire Western education in spite of the assailants’ threats.