Bill Clinton recently demonstrated the tenacity of those liberal/leftist/materialist paradigms that have all but blinded the West to reality. According to the Associated Press:
Former U.S. President [and current spouse of the U.S. Secretary of State] Bill Clinton warned Monday that the rampant poverty that plagues oil-rich Nigeria—felt most acutely in its Muslim north—is fueling the religious violence now tearing at the nation. A radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram claimed Monday it killed 12 soldiers and beheaded three government informants in its bloody wave of sectarian violence against Nigeria’s weak central government [the report later adds that Boko Haram has so far killed 286 people this year alone, that is, in just the last six weeks]. While Clinton never named the sect in a speech Monday night in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, he admitted he remained “really worried” about the security challenges in Africa’s most populous nation.”You can’t just have this level of inequality persist. That’s what’s fueling all this stuff,” said Clinton… New government statistics released Monday showed that in Nigeria’s northwest and northeast, regions besieged by Islamic insurgents, about 75 percent of the people live in poverty [emphasis added].
The remainder of the article tells of how “analysts” agree with the poverty-fuels-jihad thesis, and how “Clinton called for Nigerians to embrace their similarities,” arguing that “It is almost impossible to cure a problem based on violence with violence.”
Thus, Clinton, analysts—even the New York Times—all offer a perfectly palatable reason for the violence plaguing Nigeria, one that accords well with the materialist worldview, and one that, as usual, defies reality. Consider some simple facts:
First, Islamists of the north, led by Boko Haram, began their violent jihad in earnest, not because they realized they were financially impoverished, but because a Christian won what was described as Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections. After all, as Islamic law clearly teaches, a non-Muslim is not permitted to govern Muslims—not because he is bad for the economy, but because he is an infidel.
The full name of Boko Haram is “Sunnis for [Islamic] Propagation and Jihad”; “Boko Haram,” their nickname, means “Western Education is a Sin” (not “We Kill Because We’re Poor”). Their stated goal is the establishment of a pure Sharia state in Nigeria. In other words, they are like all the other Islamists around the world, many of whom are financially well of, beginning with the leader of the pack, Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s wealthiest nations, and also the nation most responsible for fueling the jihad of groups like Boko Haram (just as the rich Saudi Osama bin Laden had supported the Islamist regime of Sudan, any number of wealthy donors, Saudi and otherwise, support jihadi groups like Boko Haram as part of their zakat).
Then there is the fact that, whenever and wherever a society begins to enforce Sharia, impoverishment soon follows—unless, of course, that society has natural resources to glut on. Indeed, consider the poverty-inducing consequences of Boko Haram’s jihad: most recently, after reading about how “Allahu Akbar” screaming Muslims killed and wrought havoc in the Nigerian city of Kano, we discover that Kano is “the economic heart of Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north.”
Who, then, is really creating poverty in northern Nigeria? As we saw, the Associated Press report states that “in Nigeria’s northwest and northeast, regions besieged by Islamic insurgents, about 75 percent of the people live in poverty.” The implication is that poverty creates frustrated jihadis; the reality is that jihadis frustrate the economy..
The inability to accept these straightforward facts; the inability to factor ideological or existential motives, seeing only material motives (money, land, etc); the almost instinctive conclusion that Muslim violence is proof positive of legitimate grievance—all of these are so ingrained in the predominant paradigm, from the mainstream media, to mainstream politicians, and all of these are poisoning Western civilization from within, eroding its influence and capacity to act from without.
Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. A widely published author, he is best known for his book, The Al Qaeda Reader . Mr. Ibrahim's dual-background—born and raised in the U.S. by Egyptian parents —has provided him with unique advantages to understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets.