The fundamental aim of jihad in all its forms is to impose Sharia, and that is why jihadists in supposedly “regional” conflicts find common cause with others far removed from them, as the spokesman here claims support in Saudi Arabia.
Boko Haram has consistently targeted institutions, practices, and people that would stand in the way of their imposition of Sharia, to which the government in Abuja responded this week: but what are your demands?
The Islamist group Boko Haram, which has killed almost 1,000 people in Nigeria, will continue its campaign of violence until the country is ruled by sharia law, a senior member has told the Guardian.
“We will consider negotiation only when we have brought the government to their knees,” the spokesman, Abu Qaqa, said in the group’s first major interview with a western newspaper. “Once we see that things are being done according to the dictates of Allah, and our members are released [from prison], we will only put aside our arms — but we will not lay them down. You don’t put down your arms in Islam, you only put them aside.”
Qaqa, whose name is a pseudonym, said the group’s members were spiritual followers of al-Qaida, and claimed they had met senior figures in the network founded by Osama bin Laden during visits to Saudia Arabia.
He chose “Qaqa” on purpose?
The interview comes a week after Boko Haram claimed responsibility for Nigeria’s single deadliest terrorist attack, which killed 186 people in the northern city of Kano.
In an audio message posted on YouTube on Friday, the group’s current leader, Abubakar Shekau, threatened to bomb schools and kidnap family members of government officials.
“If [security forces] are going to places of worship and destroying them, like mosques and Quranic schools, you have primary schools as well, you have secondary schools and universities, and we will start bombing them.”
Shekau rejected calls for a negotiated peace from President Goodluck Jonathan, who on Thursday called for the shadowy sect to step out of the shadows and engage in dialogue.
Nigerian officials have voiced hopes for a negotiated settlement with “moderate elements” of the group. “Under the circumstances, if you look hard enough, you can find moderate elements you can communicate with,” General Andrew Azazi, the national security adviser to the president, told the Wall Street Journal on Friday. […]
Qaqa said Shekau and others had travelled to Saudi Arabia for training and funding. “Al-Qaida are our elder brothers. During the lesser Hajj [last August], our leader travelled to Saudi Arabia and met al-Qaida there. We enjoy financial and technical support from them. Anything we want from them we ask them.” […]
But Qaqa said the rights of the country’s 70 million Christians, who represent half of Nigeria’s population, “would be protected” under the group’s envisioned Islamic state. “Even the prophet Mohammed lived with non-Muslims and he gave them their dues.” But he said everyone must abide by sharia law: “There are no exceptions. Even if you are a Muslim and you don’t abide by sharia, we will kill you. Even if you are my own father, we will kill you.”…