Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor's Name

Dr. Carlos Grenier

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Albert Wuaku

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Co-committee chair

Third Advisor's Name

Dr. Ana Maria Bidegain

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Religion, History, Religious war

Date of Defense



The purpose of this thesis is to explore the roles of Islamic identity in the rise and perseverance of Boko Haram in the northeastern part of Nigeria. This study’s significance is to contribute to the continued research and understanding of Boko Haram as an Islamic identity movement based on the unique political history of northern Nigeria, one drawing on the grievance of Muslim powerlessness in the postcolonial African state. Interpretations for the rise of movements commonly identified with militant extremism in the Islamic World tend to rely on materialist explanations or attribute them to brainwashing. A broader approach explores political possibilities, socializing structures, and the most recent experiences to counter an over-reliance on economic interpretations. If Islamic extremism is to be appreciated entirely and eventually overcome, it is argued that it must be regarded as a multi-faceted phenomenon triggered by multiple economic, political, social, cultural, and psychological factors.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Included in

Religion Commons



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).