The proposed book is the first attempt to understand Boko Haram in a broad and coherent way.
The demand for a stricter application of Sharia is a challenge in a plural society and vast country like Nigeria, where Christian–Muslim relations are often perceived as a source of tension. A rallying symbol in its own right, the extension of Islamic Law has already raised many controversies and challenged the secular nature of the State for several decades. Nevertheless, it also reflects the demand of Northern Muslims for social justice, cultural autonomy, religious freedom, and political emancipation within a federal system.
In this context, Boko Haram upsets conventional wisdom on radical Islam and the pacifying role of democracy. Both a sect and a social movement, the followers of Mohamed Yusuf—who consistently reject the nickname Boko Haram as pejorative and wish to be referred to by their real name Jama’atu Ahlis-Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad (“People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”)—are fighting for a ‘pure’ Sharia that would require the establishment of an Islamic republic in order to be properly implemented. Hence, they challenge not only the basis of the secular State but also mainstream Islamic thinking in Nigeria, since the vast majority of Northern Muslims disagree with the ideals of Boko Haram.
The proposed book will analyse the early history of the sect and the causes of the uprising, as well as the consequences from a religious, social, and political point of view.
The authors will address some of the following questions:
How far can we consider Boko Haram to be the product of deprivation and marginalisation?
What is the relationship of the sect with Almajirai, Islamic schools, Sufi brotherhoods, Izala, Muslim Brothers, Christian churches, etc? Members of Boko Haram contest traditional Islam and have united against them many Muslim movements that used to be opposed to each other. So what are the prospects for Boko Haram from a religious perspective? Integration in the political establishment, like the Izala? Dissolution or underground retreat, like the Kalakato and the remnants of Maitatsine? Internationalization in a Jihadist movement?
Boko Haram and political parties, from ‘godfatherism’ to ‘revolution’: how ambiguous is the movement regarding its compromises with the PDP or the ANPP? Why did the sect not aim at transforming into a political party like the Muslim Brothers in Egypt? Mohamed Yusuf and his followers attempted to reform the State, at least in Borno. But did they ever really try to take power?
Negotiating with Boko Haram: peace initiatives and failures. Why did the Nigerian government succeed in brokering a truce in the Niger Delta but not in the north?
Boko Haram and the political economy of violence: how is the group funded? What is the role of security forces in the radicalisation of the sect?
What are the political consequences of Boko Haram and the ‘war on terrorism’ for the Nigerian government?
How is the crisis analysed abroad and in the Nigerian media? How is Boko Haram viewed in Chad, Cameroon, and Niger? How does the Nigerian government attempt to scapegoat foreigners as being responsible for the crisis?
The book gives priority to authors who are doing fieldwork in Nigeria. But it also welcomes studies of preachings, audiovisual documents, and written artefacts on Boko Haram: for example, the book by Mohamed Yusuf, articles in the press, official reports, human rights’ analysis.
Please provide a 500-word proposal for your submission by 1 September 2012.
Submissions may be sent to: email@example.com
If your proposal is accepted, full papers will be due by 15 December 2012.
The articles should not exceed 8,000–10,000 words. They should be written to the standard of an academic publication, making clear arguments or providing new research. Please use the formatting, style, and referencing guidelines provided by IFRA-Nigeria: http://www.ifra-nigeria.org/spip.php?rubrique57