If the ideology that demanded the imposition of Sharia by force had been invented by the sect leader, the game would be over. For that matter, as long as Sharia is in effect in Nigerian states, there will be pressure — including violent outbursts — for more of it. This is because Sharia, believed to be the product of divine fiat, is a package deal.
As soon as the state is put in charge of executing (pun intended) Sharia law, piety (or the appearance of it) equals legitimacy, and strict enforcement easily becomes a matter of self-preservation. Add to that the Qur’an’s sanction for imposing it by warfare, and you’ve got an even bigger problem.
Reuters – Security forces in northern Nigeria fought gunbattles with followers of a radical Islamic sect for a sixth straight day on Friday after the group’s leader was shot dead while in police custody.
Militant preacher Mohammed Yusuf, 39, whose Boko Haram sect wants a wider adoption of sharia (Islamic law) across Africa’s most populous nation, was killed late on Thursday at the police headquarters in the northern city of Maiduguri.
Hundreds of people, mostly suspected members of the sect, have been killed in clashes with security forces in at least four states since Sunday. […]
Yusuf’s supporters, armed with machetes, knives, home-made hunting rifles and petrol bombs, have rioted in several states across northern Nigeria in recent days, attacking churches, police stations, prisons and government buildings.
The violence broke out on Sunday when members of the group — loosely modelled on the Taliban in Afghanistan and whose name means “Western education is sinful” — were arrested in Bauchi state on suspicion of plotting to attack a police station.
President Umaru Yar’Adua has said the group was procuring arms and learning to make bombs in order to impose its ideology on Nigerians by force. He has ordered the security forces to do everything necessary to contain the sect.