This is a guest post by Jacob Zenn, a research analyst at The Jamestown Foundation, and Atta Barkindo, a Ph.D. candidate, SOAS, University of London.
Since launching an insurgency in northern Nigeria in September 2010, Boko Haram leader Abu Shekau and his spokesmen have issued more than thirty statements to the Nigerian press and recorded a number of videos to claim attacks. In Shekau’s and other Boko Haram leaders’ pre-2010 sermons, the languages they use are Hausa and Arabic, not English. Shekau goes so far as to claim that the English language in northern Nigeria destroyed the traditional Arabic language education system for the region’s Muslims. We have reviewed Boko Haram sermons from before 2010, and our conclusions below are directly based on our interpretation of them in their original languages. We believe a study of these sermons is an important source for understanding the evolving Islamic insurgency in northern Nigeria that has been mostly overlooked, in part because their languages make them inaccessible to most Western observers. Read more »