Britain’s government announced today that it will add the radical Islamic group Boko Haram to its list of outlawed terrorist organizations. Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sacrilege,” has waged a campaign over the years to wipe out Nigerian Christians. In its most recent act of terror on Saturday, the group slaughtered at least 41 children and a teacher at a boarding school.
”They burned the children alive,” said Musa Hassan, 15, who heard the screams of his fellow pupils. Boko Haram’s victims also include Nigerian Muslims who seek a way of life not controlled by Islamic sharia law. The group’s serial killing sprees have caused the deaths of over 3,000 Nigerians since 2009.
In an attack last October, members of the group executed a suicide bombing at St. Rita Catholic Church during Mass that killed ten congregants and wounded at least 145.
Sadly, the U.S. and its allies have largely yawned at Boko Haram’s blood-soaked campaign to create an Islamic-dominated region in northern Nigeria. The al-Qaeda-linked Boko Haram has neither been listed by the U.S. government nor by the European Union as a foreign terrorist organization. Plainly put, the West’s counterterrorism indifference to one of Africa’s most lethal Islamic terror entities is shocking. The EU’s top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, promised Nigerians over the weekend her “solidarity and determination” to help bring them security and peace. Ashton’s empty diplomatic rhetoric mirrors the EU’s failure to stop Syrian president Bashar Assad’s war against his population.
Perhaps it is unsurprising that the EU simply issues boilerplate condemnations of Boko Haram and cannot find the wherewithal to ban the Islamic group. After all, the European Union still allows the Iran-sponsored terrorist group Hezbollah to operate on its soil. Hezbollah advances its terror objectives by fundraising and recruitment within the EU’s territory.
There was a time when the U.K. followed the American lead on advancing global democracy and fighting Islamic terrorism. The United States has announced bounty payments for the capture of key Boko Haram leaders, but the Obama administration’s failure to ban Boko Haram is quite perplexing.
— Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Benjamin on Twitter @BenWeinthal