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Boko Haram Sharia Reasoning and Democratic Vision in Pluralist Nigeria

Abstract

In the decade since Al-Qaeda, led by the late Osama Bin Laden, attacked America, there has been a resurgence in the debate about the relationship between religion and politics. The global Islamic terrorist networks and their successful operations against various targets around the globe increasingly draw attention to what constitutes the core values of Islamic extremism: the logic of evangelistic strategy, the import and relevance of its spiritual message and consideration of the composite view of life that does not distinguish between sacred and temporal mandates. Suspicions have been fuelled that Islam is incompatible with modern democratic systems and pluralist outlooks. The real cause of Islamic militancy is at once universal and particular. The Nigerian experience of this radical Islamism-Boko Haram-brings home the once “distant” threat to global peaceful co-existence. While there exist arguments regarding the raison d’etre and means or methods of the operations of Boko Haram, the end has been normative; to achieve a purely religious nationalistic system on the basis of the sharia code of ethics. This paper, therefore, critically analyses the historical and philosophical interpretations of Islamic history constructed as an infallible corpus, and how it has been impacted by the democratic vision in Nigeria. It concludes with a consideration of the possibility and practicability of a liberal system at once free and religious in a pluralist and global society.

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