Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom hosted an informal briefing by representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria. Speakers focused on the political ascendancy of the violent terrorist group Boko Haram, the impact on Nigeria’s religious minorities, and the group within its broader geopolitical and historical context. Last month, the U.S. Department of State named three top Boko Haram commanders as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists.”
Jama‘atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad (Association of Sunnis for the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad), commonly known as “Boko Haram,” has had a long history of carrying out violent terrorist attacks in Nigeria. The State Department reports:
“In the last 18 months, Boko Haram or associated militants have killed more than 1,000 people. Boko Haram is credited with the August 26, 2011 attack on the United Nations building in Abuja, that killed at least 23 people and wounded scores more. Boko Haram also claimed responsibility for the December 25, 2011 attack on the Saint Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, Nigeria, that killed at least 35 and wounded dozens more. Boko Haram’s deadliest violence occurred on January 20, 2012 in Kano, Nigeria, with a series of attacks that killed more than 180 people. Boko Haram’s victims have been overwhelmingly civilian.”
Since its inception a decade ago, Boko Haram has clearly articulated its goals and ambitions to create an Islamist state in Nigeria. The Christian Association of Nigeria has gained critical insights into the structure, hierarchy, and operations of the group.