The group's other name, Boko Haram, means "Western education is a sin" and is another title used by local people to refer to the group...I would disagree with the assertion that a spherical earth is "contrary to the teachings of Allah" since some of the greatest astronomers of medieval times were Muslim, and they needed spherical geometry to determine the correct direction to Mecca - but I wouldn't bother trying to explain that to these guys...
If their name is uncertain, however, their mission appears clear enough: to overthrow the Nigerian state, impose an extreme interpretation of Islamic law and abolish what they term "Western-style education".
In an interview with the BBC, the group's leader, Mohammed Yusuf, said such education "spoils the belief in one God".
"There are prominent Islamic preachers who have seen and understood that the present Western-style education is mixed with issues that run contrary to our beliefs in Islam," he said.
"Like rain. We believe it is a creation of God rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain.
"Like saying the world is a sphere. If it runs contrary to the teachings of Allah, we reject it. We also reject the theory of Darwinism."
29 July 2009
The flat-earth religious fanatic Luddites of Nigeria