Boko Haram means “Western education is sin,” or more literally, “Books bad.” The mainstream media has reported on this name as if the group were a bunch of Luddites with AK-47s – people who for some unexplained reason object to modern education and modern technology except for the weaponry. But actually the moniker “Boko Haram” is a specifically Islamic name, referring to the sinfulness of any system of education that is not based and centered upon the Qur’an and Islam.
And the actual name of the group is not Boko Haram at all; it is the Party of the People of the Sunnah for Dawah and Jihad. Sunnah is accepted Islamic practice as derived from the Qur’an and Hadith; dawah is Islamic proselytizing; and jihad, of course, is (according to mainstream Islamic tradition) primarily warfare against unbelievers in order to establish the hegemony of Islamic law. Clearly, then, the group’s focus and motivation is entirely Islamic – which is probably why the media never calls the group by its actual name: too much focus on Islam in connection with terrorism is, for the media, as verboten for today’s media as it would have been for Der Stürmer to run a piece favorable to Jews.
“Suicide bomber kills 48 students in Nigeria,” Associated Press, November 10, 2014:
POTISKUM, Nigeria — A suicide bomber disguised in a school uniform detonated explosives at a high school assembly in the northeastern Nigerian city of Potiskum on Monday, killing at least 48 students, according to survivors and a morgue attendant.
Soldiers rushed to the scene, grisly with body parts, in the capital of Yobe state, but they were chased away by a crowd throwing stones and shouting that they are angry at the military’s inability to halt a 5-year-old Islamic insurgency that has killed thousands and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes.
A suicide bomb attack in the same city killed 30 people one week ago, when suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked a religious procession of moderate Muslims.
Some 2,000 students had gathered for Monday morning’s weekly assembly at the Government Technical Science College when the explosion blasted through the school hall, according to survivors.
“We were waiting for the principal to address us, around 7:30 a.m., when we heard a deafening sound and I was blown off my feet, people started screaming and running, I saw blood all over my body,” 17-year-old student Musa Ibrahim Yahaya said from the general hospital, where he was being treated for head wounds.
Hospital records show 79 students were admitted and health workers said they include serious injuries that may require amputations. The hospital was so overcrowded that some patients were squashed two to a bed.
A morgue attendant said 48 bodies were brought to the hospital and all appeared to be between the ages of 11 and 20 years old. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to give information to reporters.
Survivors said the bomber appeared to have hidden the explosives in a type of rucksack popular with students. Months ago Nigeria’s military had reported finding a bomb factory where explosives were being sewn into rucksacks in the northern city of Kano….
Boko Haram — the name means “Education is sinful” in the local Hausa language — attracted international outrage with the April kidnappings of 276 mostly Christian schoolgirls writing exams at a northeastern boarding school. Dozens escaped on their own but 219 remain missing. Boko Haram has said that the schoolgirls have all converted to Islam and been married off to extremist fighters….