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Islamist extremism not poverty driving Boko Haram terror campaign says archbishop

Archbishop Kwashi is the Anglican Archbishop of the area in Northern Nigeria where the bombing took place at Potiskum. He met on Monday November 10 with the Diocesan bishop of the area.

He writes as follows:

To say, as Jerome Starkey does, (The Times 11 Nov)  that insurgency in the North of Nigeria is fueled more by poverty than by Islamic extremism, is to undermine the truth with the same old story we hear again and again from those unwilling to face the connected and organized global jihadist network we face today.

Poverty does not explain the death by suicide bomb of 40 school children- Muslim children- in Potiksum yesterday. It does not explain the abduction, forced conversion, and forced marriage of some 200 girls in Chibok. To say that this is the result of poverty and corruption is to play down the evil of Boko Haram, and their form of Islam- an Islam we do not know from the Quran, or from the Muslims of my generation. Remember that often- as yesterday- those Muslims who do not share their extremist ideology are often their victims too. Boko Haram and their kind delight in massacres, slaughters, rape and murders- this is not the face of poverty, but the face of radical Islamist jihad. Many world governments are increasingly recognizing this global terror movement- from ISIS to Al Queda to Boko Haram: to hide behind the issues of poverty or corruption- which do not figure in extremist ideology- is a red herring. To do as this report has done is to put both Christians and non-extremist Muslims in jeopardy.

As a Christian bishop, I deplore the poverty and corruption of my country- though I wish those co-conspirators in the West would take their lion share of the blame for the stolen monies and disgraced leaders they harbour.  Further, I can attest that the Muslims of my childhood were certainly poorer than those of today, yet they never bought arms or slaughtered innocents. Poverty is real, corruption is global, complex and also real. But so is the global terror ideology of which Boko Haram is a practitioner, and the global terror network of which it is a part. It is both untrue and unhelpful to conflate and confuse these issues.

The Most Rev Dr Benjamin A. Kwashi
Archbishop of Jos, Northern Nigeria

Reprinted with the permission of Anglican Mainstream.

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