What, in hindsight, can be only described as an obtuse and extremely wrong statement, former President Bill Clinton stated in 2013 that the terrorist organization Boko Haram acts out of poverty, not because of religious fervor.
Mr. Clinton not only stated that poverty was the cause, but that specifically, Islam and religion could not be blamed in any way. Possibly it is related to President Clinton being “discriminated” against for being black.
“You have to somehow bring economic opportunity to the people who don’t have it,” Clinton stated. He added, “You have all these political problems — and now violence problems — that appear to be rooted in religious differences and all the rhetoric of the Boko Harams and others. But the truth is the poverty rate in the north is three times of what it is in Lagos.”
Clinton would go on to suggest that divvying up natural resources differently in Nigeria and offering Boko Haram jobs could help stop their terrorist attacks and kidnappings.
Clinton’s statements are directly opposed to the leader of Boko Haram himself, who stated that God had told him to abduct over 200 girls and women.
Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the group, recently released a video taking responsibility for the kidnappings. It begins with him and his followers shouting, “Allahu akbar!” and shooting guns into the air.
He goes on to say that, “I abducted your girls… By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace… They are slaves and I will sell them because I have the market to sell them.” He later continues, saying that Western observers know nothing of what is right. “What do you know about human rights? You’re just claiming human rights (abuses), but you don’t know what it is.”
The former President must have also, apparently, forgotten that “Boko Haram” roughly translates into “Western education is sin,” not, “We are terrorists because we are poor.”
Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Clinton, in her time as Secretary of State, refused to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization. Though not confirmed, Mr. Clinton’s belief that poverty caused their actions may have influenced Hillary’s non-designation.