Friday, April 14, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Sexual Repression and Extremism in Northern Nigeria


Could you be more specific Abdul?


Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Abdul Salau <salauabdul@gmail.com>
Date: 14/04/2017 08:59 (GMT+00:00)
To: toyin <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Sexual Repression and Extremism in Northern Nigeria

Wow

It is nice to be a columnist and public intellectual but there is a responsibility for intellectuals to tell the truth.  It is sad when an intellectuals mask the truth by creating a reality based on their own rationalizations and ideological posturings.   

On Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 2:09 PM, Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com> wrote:


Weaponisation of sex in war had been around since time immemorial. 

 It is part of the bestiality of mankind that invokes war to resolve as well as justify and celebrate conflicts.

Boko Haram is only another chapter in this sordid saga!

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Mobolaji Aluko <alukome@gmail.com>
Date: 13/04/2017 16:19 (GMT+00:00)
To: USAAfrica Dialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Sexual Repression and Extremism in Northern Nigeria


My People:

No need to fight....the questions are:   in Boko Haram terrorism, is sexual victimization

(1) a cause (major or minor) or effect (major or minor)?
(2) a motivation (major or minor) or outcome (major or minor) for recruitment?
(3) incidence riddled with evidence or with speculation?

We must never get away from the fact - which irks true Muslims to no small bit - of the (myth?) of the reward of  seven(ty) virgins in "heaven" as motivation for death in jihad.  After all, Boko Haram has (a tinge of) Islamic roots?

So why the surprise?

Inquiring minds want to know.....



Bolaji Aluko
Shaking his head



On Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 3:59 PM, Ibrahim Abdullah <ibdullah@gmail.com> wrote:
Your rantings are just that: rantings. 

My point is simply this: the rampant sexual orgies inherent in Boko Haram camps and their ideology is a familiar trope; it references the activities of all such organisations in the contemporary era. 

Whether it's elaborate or implicit these activities are remain a distinguishing marker of these kinds of organisations wherever they exist.

And the answer is not far to seek: it is the weaponisation of sex in a crisis situation. 

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 13, 2017, at 3:15 PM, Moses Ebe   <meochonu@gmail.com> wrote:

There we go with the familiar sterile defensiveness and the invocation of false equivalences. Clearly, Salafi-Jihadi militants have developed a robust theological justification for the sexual enslavement of female members of enemy or "infidel" societies. Which is why ISIS and other Salafi-Jihadi militant groups also practice sexual slavery. There is a long theological genealogy of Jihad that justifies and endorses the sexual enslavement of "infidel" women. Secular combatants elsewhere have of course used rapes and sexual enslavement as instruments of war, but unlike Boko Haram do not have an ideological/theological apparatus that justifies and legitimizes. The similarity might be that in both scenarios gun-aided access to the female body might be a factor leading some young men to either join and continue in the groups. Yesterday, after I posted this excerpt on my Facebook wall, it was brought to my attention that in terrorism studies there is a whole theory devoted to this argument. We need to test this theory on Boko Haram/Northern Nigeria.

Secondly, I did not privilege sexual repression as an explanation for Boko Haram. I have  only argued that we consider it as part of a range of factors that attracted and still attract Muslim youth in Northern Nigeria to the group. In fact if I were to rank the different factors, sexual repression would not rank in the top three factors. But I would not discount it either, as the divvying up of female war booty (forgive the pun) by the group and their theological legitimization of rape and sexual concubinage with so-called infidel women are clearly an incentive for SOME young men to join or remain in the group.

Boko Haram is not a crazy organization. They have an elaborate ideological, military and economic infrastructure that aid them in recruitment. In the early days, they used passionate sermons in rural areas to persuade parents to voluntarily "donate" their sons to the jihad. Later on, they began incentivizing some parents by paying them a monthly stipend on behalf of their sons who join the movement, telling the parents that they had nothing to lose since their sons were fulfilling, through the stipend, the cultural obligation of taking care of them, and that if the sons died in the jihad, they would go to paradise. When the group began to suffer loses to the Nigerian army and became desperate for recruits, they began to abduct and forcefully co-opt young men into their ranks.

And yet, many young Muslim men, including many from stable, decent, and even affluent homes, were simply seduced by the group's apocalyptic messages, its theological prescriptions, its critique of modernity, and its recommendation of Jihad a pathway to a just, fair, Utopian theocratic world and ultimately to paradise.

The sexual repression factor complements the others. It does not take away from or supplant them. The problem of course is that it is difficult to prove in scholarly terms, since Islamist militants, even those in deradicalization camps, may never admit that they joined Boko Haram because of the attraction of free "marriage" and access to regular sex without guilt. They'd rather invoke spiritual reasons. Sexual repression is, by the way, not just a Northern Nigerian problem. It is also prevalent in the Middle East, and several recent articles, some of them written by Middle Eastern intellectuals, have begun to tackle the issue and its connection to the the Salafi-Jihadi phenomenon.

Finally, a member of this group, Abdulbasit Kassim, has done an amazing work of translating and collating the sermons and theological pronouncements of Boko Haram's founding clerics, sermons that clearly show that, long before Chibok and other female kidnappings happened, the group had already developed a theological corpus to justify the sexual enslavement of "infidel" women in the context of their jihad. By the way, even the much revered jihad of Othman dan Fodio was guided by the Shehu's elaborate theological justification of the sexual enslavement of "infidel" women. It is not inconceivable to imagine that then, as now, some young men were attracted to the jihad by the prospect of securing for themselves war booty of both the material and human type.

On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 9:25 PM, Ibrahim Abdullah <ibdullah@gmail.com> wrote:
This hardly explains the rampant sexual urge that characterises modern warfare: from Bosnia to Sierra Leone to Mali and Kenya. The weaponisation of sex is not peculiar to Boko Haram; it's a modern trend in contemporary welfare. 

Previleging this aspect of the war as an explanation hardly takes us anywhere. 

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 12, 2017, at 9:32 PM, Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com> wrote:

SEXUAL REPRESSION AND EXTREMISM IN NORTHERN NIGERIA: A PROVOCATION

(A short excerpt from my recent lecture on Boko Haram at the University of Pittsburgh)


by Moses Ochonu



Muslim-majority Northern Nigeria houses a sexual economy in which access to sex and the female body, whether mediated by marriage or concubinage, is almost exclusively reserved for older, mostly Western educated, well off men. 

The region, moreover, is home to a culture of sexual repression in which the expression and pursuit of desire is constrained by status and financial resources. The result is that sexual frustration coexists with and is exacerbated by the inability of young, uneducated and thus unemployable Muslim youth to access sexual resources and other benefits of heterosexual relationships. Even Western educated youths lacking viable footholds in Nigeria's secular economy have found themselves unable to fulfill this cardinal Northern Nigerian ritual of masculine accomplishment. 

In other words, the masculine and patriarchal honor associated with marriage and the ability to cater for a family is elusive for many youths lacking access to the secular economy as a result of either their own lack of Western education or the dearth of employment opportunities. In a patriarchal culture in which male honor is defined by the ability to control and manage women and children in licit marital and paternal relationships, the frustration of not having the means to marry, licitly satisfy your libidinal urge, and raise a family, causes disillusionment with society as it exists and encourages a yearning for the kind of caliphal and paradisiacal Utopia advertised by Boko Haram. 

This rejection of Nigerian secular society and the concomitant allure of a terrestrial caliphate or an extraterrestrial paradise is intensified when the indoctrinated Muslim youth sees Western educated coreligionists and Christians engage in both licit and illicit sexual relationships with women. This is one of the silent but rarely acknowledged drivers of youth vulnerability to extremist indoctrination in Northern Nigeria. This frustration catalyzes a jealous rage directed at those who are perceived to have monopolized the sexual and marital resources that are the markers of healthy Muslim masculinity in this society. 

It is no coincidence that rapes, the kidnap of young girls, and other sexual crimes have been rife within the ranks Boko Haram. Raids on the camps of Boko Haram have consistently turned up viagra and other sexual enhancement drugs as well as condoms in large quantities. 

Many youths flocked to Boko Haram partly because they were promised wives on the free as well as female captive concubines that could be sexually enslaved lawfully in the warped doctrine of the sect, in addition, of course, to power, honor, and the masculine dignity that eluded them in Nigeria's secular, materialistic, and modern (infidel) economy. 

Several decades earlier, young Northern Nigerian Muslim men desiring marriage and licit sexual relationships in a more liberal and affordable framework, had flocked to the Izala Salafi movement, which denounced expensive marital rituals and ceremonies as Bi'dah or even shirk and democratized the marital and sexual space for its adherents. 

The entwinement of extremism, sexual repression, and a patriarchal economy of honor is one of the keys to understanding extremism in Northern Nigeria but it is rarely broached let alone discussed.


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