The BBC’s Joe Boyle ponders Nigeria’s ‘Taliban’ enigma:
They have launched co-ordinated attacks across northern Nigeria, threatening to overthrow the government and impose strict Islamic law – but who exactly are the Nigerian Taliban?
Since the group emerged in 2004 they have become known as “Taliban”, although they appear to have no links to the Taliban in Afghanistan.…
The group’s other name, Boko Haram, means “Western education is a sin” and is another title used by local people to refer to the group. …
their mission appears clear enough: to overthrow the Nigerian state, impose an extreme interpretation of Islamic law and abolish what they term “Western-style education”.
In an interview with the BBC, the group’s leader, Mohammed Yusuf, said such education “spoils the belief in one god”.
“There are prominent Islamic preachers who have seen and understood that the present Western-style education is mixed with issues that run contrary to our beliefs in Islam,” he said.
“Like rain. We believe it is a creation of god rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain.
“Like saying the world is a sphere. If it runs contrary to the teachings of Allah, we reject it. We also reject the theory of Darwinism.”
The Disco. ‘tute have yet to weigh in on their views of the origins of rain, but creationists traditionally distinguish questions of origin from scientific study of something’s existence. We were not present when a raindrop formed, so how can we question Mr. Yusuf’s assessment?
We can only hope that the Nigerian Taliban’s interest in creationism will finally rejuvenate the sadly defunct Flat Earth Society, a group whose clarion call for more accurate maps has been much reduced since the death of group leader Charles Johnson in 2001. They do, however, have a web forum in which much fun might be had by Nigerian jihadis.
And now, a special TfK contest:
In honor of our imminent 5th blogiversary (yep, first post was August 10, 2004!), I’ll give some sort of tchotchke to the person who sends (via email, comment thread, or their own blog) the best 419-style spam message targeting flat earthers. I will judge the contest, with “best” defined as maximizing both humor and mimicry of genuine 419 spam. Feel free to produce a spambaiting dialog between scammer and scammee.