Boko Haram, Fundamentalism, Terrorism And Islam

Abubakar Shekau - Leader of Boko Haram (Photo:
Abubakar Shekau – Leader of Boko Haram (Photo:

Fundamentalism comes from the root word fundare, which means a base or foundation. The definition of fundamentalism in reference to religion is “religious beliefs based on a literal interpretation of a religious text.” If you ask a Westerner, “What is the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Muslim’?” many answer, “Terrorist.” This may be due to the fact that the word Muslim is often paired with the word terrorist in the media. Can we say that the media is ignorant of what terrorism is?

If a Jew or a Christian were to take part in an act that would be clearly considered terrorism e.g mass killings by Jews in Palestine and Christians of Chad or Central Africa Republic, one would not hear them called “Christian terrorist” or “Jewish terrorist.” Just as Jim Jones, who claimed to represent Christ, and Timothy McVeigh, who professed to be a part of the Christian Patriot Movement, are not considered representative of Christianity, terrorists should not be considered representatives of Islam.

Two phrases often used interchangeably are “Muslim terrorist” and “Muslim fundamentalist.” (“Muslim terrorist” is an oxymoron; one who truly practices Islam cannot be a terrorist.) If we were to refer to the definition of fundamentalism, we would know that these phrases are mistakenly being used interchangeably, and that they actually have opposite meanings. A true Islamic fundamentalist is one who strictly adheres to the fundamentals of Islam, which can only be defined by the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). This is the opposite of what people commonly call “Islamic fundamentalism.” Within true Islamic fundamentalism one would never see crimes against humanity, heinous acts of hatred, political killings, terrorism, oppression, religious extremism or zealotry, or the forcing of one’s religion on others. All of these acts are clearly forbidden in Islam. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was a pinnacle of humanity’s generosity and compassion.

The media spotlight is on those dramatic, oppressive, ignorant murderers who are not true Muslim fundamentalists according to its correct definition. It is a tragedy that many people have an enormous unfounded fear of Islam and what is mistakenly thought to be Islam’s fundamental beliefs. Since the time of the Crusades, some Westerners have taken a hostile, aggressive, and demonizing stance towards Islam.

Muslims practicing true Islamic principles are an endangered species. As Muslims struggle to practice their beliefs, many are challenged by either their own government or Western governments. The corporate media spotlight is not shining on the true Islamic fundamentalists.

Nowadays, every article you can read from Nigeria, you will find the word “Muslim terrorists “ several times referring to Boko haram. In reality, Boko Haram is composed of both groups; Muslims and non-Muslims and above all either Christians or Muslims are victims of this group. Do you know that Boko Haram is not an Islamic sect as described on media? May be you missed it, here is your chance:

“The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) has urged both Nigerian and foreign media to refrain from addressing Boko Haram insurgents as an Islamic sect. Rounding off the three-day visit to Nigeria the group via their Secretary General, Eyad Madani, noted that the members of the sect are anti-Islam and should rather be addressed as criminals.” Madani said: “What they (Boko Haram) do is criminal act; it has absolutely nothing to do with Islam.” (

The Sec. Gen. was further quoted as saying: “The OIC has issued statements that … these people are outlaws.”

“What they do is criminal act, it has absolutely nothing to do with Islam, Islamic teachings, the religion of Islam, the history, the culture, the civilization of Islam and we should identify them for what they are: as a terrorist group.”

The question which vibrates in my brain is: Why the faith of other people is not denounced on the media for committing the same crimes that cost thousands of insults to Islam on media?

Is it because the blunder of a criminal fades in air while if a decent man commits the same blunder becomes news of the day?

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