The Islamist group Boko Haram group, which has killed almost 1000 people in Nigeria, vows to continue its campaign of violence until the country is ruled by sharia law.
“We will consider negotiation only when we have brought the government to their knees,” the spokesman, Abu Qaqa, told The Guardian. ”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.”
During the group’s first major interview with a western newspaper, Qaqa claimed this week that Boko Haram had met senior figures in the network founded by Osama bin Laden during visits to Saudia Arabia.
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. 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… It’s the secular state that is responsible for the woes we are seeing today. People should understand that we are not saying we have to rule Nigeria, but we have been motivated by the stark injustice in the land. People underrate us but we have our sights set on [bringing sharia to] the whole world, not just Nigeria.”
Boko Haram promotes a version of Islam which makes it “haram”, or forbidden, for Muslims to take part in any political or social activity associated with Western society. Sharia law is already in place across 12 states in the Muslim-majority north.