The Boko Haram Reader

The Boko Haram Reader : From Nigerian Preachers to the Islamic State

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Since it erupted onto the world stage in 2009, people have asked, what is Boko Haram, and what does it stand for? Is there a coherent vision or set of beliefs behind it? Despite the growing literature about the group, few if any attempts have been made to answer these questions, even though Boko Haram is but the latest in a long line of millenarian Muslim reform groups to emerge in Northern Nigeria over the last two centuries. The Boko Haram Reader offers an unprecedented collection of essential texts, documents, videos, audio, and nashids (martial hymns), translated into English from Hausa, Arabic and Kanuri, tracing the group's origins, history, and evolution. Its editors, two Nigerian scholars, reveal how Boko Haram's leaders manipulate Islamic theology for the legitimisation, radicalization, indoctrination and dissemination of their ideas across West Africa. Mandatory reading for anyone wishing to grasp the underpinnings of Boko Haram's insurgency, particularly how the group strives to delegitimize its rivals and establish its beliefs as a dominant strand of Islamic thought in West Africa's religious marketplace.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 152 x 231 x 33mm | 816g
  • United States
  • English
  • 0190908300
  • 9780190908300
  • 1,333,531

Review quote

"Until now, understanding of Boko Haram has been poor, but that is about to change. The Boko Haram Reader, a massive compendium of original sources translated into English, provides an essential tool for understanding what drives the movement. This is a highly important scholarly contribution that will be a basic reference work for policymakers and scholars alike."-- John Campbell, former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria; Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

"This is, without doubt, the most comprehensive compilation of original materials on Boko Haram that exists to date -- profound, brave and transformative. It is indeed a gripping and extraordinarily timely book. The contributors and editors have done a terrific job and one that will put us in their debt for a long time to come." -- Abiodun Alao, Professor of African Studies, King's College London

"A unique and indispensable resource for anyone interested in the Boko Haram phenomenon. Thanks to these brilliant translations of original written and audio-visual materials, it will finally be possible to establish the authentic raison d'ètre of this apocalyptic terror group, so often interpreted through extrapolations and conjectures." -- Amidu O. Sanni, Professor of African & Middle Eastern Studies, Lagos State University, Nigeria

"This is the most useful book on the insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria that I have so far seen published. It is a truly remarkable achievement, meticulous and carefully sourced. From now on, any serious analyst of Islamic radicalism will also have to study The Boko Haram Reader in detail -- for here is an outstanding contribution to understanding how jihadi thought can be applied, literally, in deadly earnest." -- Murray Last, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, University College London

"Boko Haram has proven to be not only one of the deadliest terrorist groups currently operating, but also one of the most misunderstood. This veritable goldmine of primary source material -- much of it published for the first time -- will finally allow scholars to analyze Boko Haram through its own lenses. An invaluable resource." -- J Peter Pham, Vice President for Research & Regional Initiatives and Director of the Africa Center, Atlantic Council

"The Boko Haram Reader fills a major lacuna in the existing literature on jihadist Salafist groups operating outside the Arab Middle East. These translations of obscure but vitally important primary sources -- from Hausa, Arabic and Kanuri -- will finally make it possible for non-specialists to obtain a much clearer glimpse of the group's ideological development and radicalization over time." -- Jeffrey M. Bale, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

"A veritable goldmine of primary source material--much of it published for the first time--and a reminder that if researchers would only take the time to analyse what militant groups actually communicate to their adherents, they would be less inclined to misread them and the threat they pose."--Atlantic Council
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About Professor David Cook

Abdulbasit Kassim is a PhD student at Rice University, focusing on African Islamic movements and international relations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Michael Nwankpa is a PhD candidate at the University of Roehampton, focusing on the dilemma of security, development and human rights. David Cook is associate professor of religion at Rice University and author of Understanding Jihad and Martyrdom in Islam.
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