chapter  6
17 Pages

Beyond Boko Haram?

WithZacharias P. Pieri

This chapter discusses the concept of takfir, explaining how it came to form an important part of Abubakar Shekau justifications for killing opponents. It argues that battles over the interpretation and application of takfir acted not only as a driver of Boko Haram violence but also as a double edged-sword, causing the movement to split and, in part, to further radicalize. The chapter demonstrate how the use and misuse of takfir was instrumental in fracturing Boko Haram, with special attention to the removal of Abubakar Shekau as the emir of Islamic State West Africa Province. It outlines Boko Haram’s evolution with regards to its stance on takfirism and also argues that the ways in which takfir has been interpreted have acted as a driver of the most brutal forms of Boko Haram’s violence. Abubakar Shekau has been the face of Boko Haram since taking the helm of the movement’s leadership after Mohammad Yusuf’s extrajudicial killing.