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University of Baltimore Journal of International Law

Abstract

Boko Haram has been active since 2002, however, most of the world became familiar with the Islamic terrorist group in April of 2014 after they kidnapped approximately 276 girls from a boarding school in northeastern Nigeria.1 The group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, announced in a video that the kidnapping was an act of retaliation after Nigerian security forces kidnapped the wives and children of Boko Haram leaders.2 He also stated that the girls would be forced to convert to Islam and sold into the slave market to begin their new lives as “servants.”3 The kidnapping was not the first act of violence against women committed by Boko Haram and it will likely not be the last.

Boko Haram, which loosely translates to “western education is sin,” vows to continue its campaign of violence until Sharia law rules Nigeria.4 These acts of violence reflect Boko Haram’s vehement disapproval of western education and Nigeria’s current government, but the group especially opposes the education of women. This essay analyzes how Boko Haram’s plan to establish Sharia law affects women.

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