• OKPANACHI, Elijah Ojochonu
Keywords: Nigeria, Islam, Jihad, Religion, Extremism, Terrorism, Fear,


Throughout history, power has more often than not been wielded through terror that is, by inciting fear. All despotic societies have been founded on fear, as have so-called totalitarian regimes in the modern era. The precursors of terrorism are many and they include political, economic, social, ethnic, racial and religious factors. However, this paper focuses on the religious factor. This is because of its highly volatile nature in Nigeria. Religion plays a serious role in fostering terrorist tendencies because of its conception against people identified as” infidels”. It is quite disheartening that Islam; a religion that translates to peace is in the forefront of terrorism (various violent militant groups like Boko Haram and Al Sunna Wal Jamma) in Nigeria. The major reason for this could be because the history of Islam was very violent as indicated by the “JIHAD” fought by the founder of the religion and other later adherents to proselytize the society. This killing of “unbelievers” at that time has transmuted into terroristic activities today. The “blame Islam” argument would suggest that there is something inherent to “Islam” as a unitary phenomenon, which inspires and motivates Muslims to kill and die in the name of Islam. Arguably, religious extremism is a major derivative of terrorism in the contemporary world and in Nigeria today, the major factor that have led to the upsurge of terrorism is religion.