On August 29 I wrote:
A few days ago the globally recognized terrorist group, Boko Haram, declared an Islamic Caliphate in one Nigerian city. Three questions: How did that happen? What is a Caliphate? And why should you care?
Boko Haram has been terrorizing parts of Africa for years, so how is the overthrow of a Nigerian city really all that big a deal? Well, it’s a majority Christian city in a country that established a democratically elected government in 1999. It is a nation where many American companies and many Americans have interest. It is also a nation where kidnapping and terrorism have grown common and so maybe, just maybe, we have grown fatigued by this one nation’s groaning.
For a season there was outrage;
but then we moved on;
so did Boko Haram.
Since posting the original article (August 29) Boko Haram has killed another 350 Christians and taken more territory in Nigeria.
They are using Al Qaeda to train recruits, and linking with terrorists in Somalia, South Sudan, Egypt, Al Shabaab and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
ISIS is the group that declared the re-establishment of an Islamic Caliphate — as in the Ottoman Empire — as it seized territory in both Syria and Iraq. Boko Haram has now done so in one town it captured in Nigeria. And although there is some question as to whether or not the Nigerian caliphate is a part of, or distinct from, the ISIS caliphate, the reality of the risk is real.
Dr. Stephen Davis knows the region and its players well. The Australian-based international advisor worked, albeit unsuccessfully, for months to secure the release of the Chibok girls that Boko Haram kidnapped in April 2014. In the past, Davis has worked to negotiate the release of oil industry workers kidnapped in Nigeria and held for ransom.
Reflecting on what he views as a degradation of the situation in Nigeria, Davis said in an ABC television interview, “It’s no longer a case of Muslims purifying by killing off Christians. They are just killing indiscriminately, beheading, disemboweling people — men, women and children and whole villages.”
Davis concludes that “I think that what we are seeing in that region is the new homeland of radical Islam in the world.”
That brings us to the question of an Islamic Caliphate.
What is a caliphate? It is a word that evokes the idea of a unified Islamic civilization that includes every Muslim on Earth.
As reported in a VOX post:
To understand what caliphate actually means and where the name comes from, you have to go back to the 620s A.D., in the western part of what is today Saudi Arabia, when the Prophet Mohammed founded Islam and led its first followers. The idea of a unified community of all believers is important in Islam, so Mohammed and his followers organized a self-governing political system that included all Muslims — at the time, not so many people. In other words, Islam was founded as a religion and a state. In the last ten years of his life, Mohammed led military campaigns in present-day Saudi Arabia to unite disparate Arabian tribes, which joined in his state-that-was-also-a-religion.
Most of us missed this particular course in World History because we studied the history of Western Civilization and the rise of the Ottoman Empire did not receive the attention now required.
Here, you can watch the Caliphate expand from its inception until the height of the first caliphate, in 655 AD:
Again, from the VOX post:
That first caliphate wasn’t just a big military empire — it was a community that encompassed all Muslims and that was practically synonymous with the Islamic faith. The caliphate spread Islam as it went, so you’re seeing the growth of Islam from a small corner of the Arabian peninsula to encompass virtually all of what we today consider the Middle East, parts of Central Asia, even the southern tip of Spain. The Caliphate also spread the Arabic language, which before 632 was limited to present-day Saudi Arabia, and is now a primary language thousands of miles away in present-day Morocco. These conquests are why almost all of the Middle East and North Africa today speaks Arabic and often considers itself ethnically Arab.
The caliphate ended a century ago, in 1914. The stated goal of jihadist is to re-establish the caliphate and their maps show just how auspicious their goals.
Why should you care?
Look at that map again and ask yourself: Where is Israel? Where is Egypt? Where is the entire Arabian peninsula and where are all the former Soviet states? Where is Turkey, Greece, Hungary? Where is Ethiopia, Kenya, and all of west Africa? Where are Portugal and Spain? They are clearly “within” and “under” the Islamic Caliphate jihadists envision.
Consider the number of people who live within those geographic bounds who will be forced to choose:
1. Convert to Islam.
2. Pay the Jizya (a tax for being non-Muslim).
3. Die by the sword.
You should also care because this is not a movement that is bound by geography, but ideology. That means it can be transported in a human heart and mind across every national border and into every community. Listen to the comments by an Imam in Britain who makes it clear, “Sharia is coming to a place near you.” Did you hear him? He clearly said that Sharia is coming to America and that he supports the establishment of a worldwide Caliphate.
Finally, you should care because this is a movement that is on the move. Each year they hold an international conference where maps and strategies are discussed. They receive training in social media and they agree on methodologies for influencing governments, the media and funding streams.
Watch the graphic on the map above and consider that today every nation under heaven is the goal of guys in Boko Haram, ISIS and other terrorists aligned with them. We already know that they will stop at nothing in terms of their brutality and disregard for human life. It is time that we also awaken to the reality that they will likely stop nowhere. Until, that is, someone stands up to stop them.