ABUJA, Nigeria — The head of the Islamic terror group Boko Haram has called upon Muslims worldwide to “pledge allegiance” to the Muslim barbaric group ISIS, which identifies itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
“We announce our allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims … and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity, in hardship and ease, and to endure being discriminated against, and not to dispute about rule with those in power, except in case of evident infidelity regarding that which there is a proof from Allah,” leader Abubakar Shekau said in an audio recording posted to Twitter on Saturday. “We call upon Muslims everywhere to pledge allegiance to the Caliph.”
Shekau was referring to the caliphate, or Islamic State, that ISIS has been seeking to set up in parts of Iraq and Sryria. Various parts of the countries have been seized by the group, which has set up its headquarters in Raqqa, Syria—although in Iraq, local forces have been working to drive ISIS out.
Boko Haram, which being translated means, “Western education is sinful,” has been seeking to build it own caliphate in Northern Africa, a part of the continent that is predominantly Christian. The group has killed thousands since it stepped up its attacks in 2009, often targeting churches and those who are non-Muslim.
As previously reported, last August, after taking over a Nigerian town that is largely inhabited by Christians, Shekau released a video stating that Muslims were commanded by Allah to rule the world.
“Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in [the town of] Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate,” he declared. “By the grace of Allah, we will not leave the town. We have come to stay.”
“Allah commands us to rule Gwoza by Islamic law,” Shekau continued. “In fact, he commands us to rule the rest of the world, not only Nigeria, and now we have started.”
Boko Haram had reportedly sent a letter in July threatening violence against Christians in the region.
“You have been fleeing your homes, but we are still pursuing you, because the soldiers with you people cannot protect you,” it stated. “Your lives, farmlands and other property are also not safeguarded. Allah willing, we shall not fail to attack your communities and the listed churches in this letter.”
But now, as Shekau has called upon Muslims worldwide to get behind ISIS as well, they stet that it signals a growing collaboration and unity between the groups.
“Boko Haram joining the ISIS fold makes sense to both groups,” Jacob Zenn with the Jamestown Foundation told CNN. “Boko Haram will get legitimacy, which will help its recruiting, funding and logistics as it expands into (French-speaking) West Africa. It will also get guidance from ISIS in media warfare and propaganda. Previously Boko Haram was a sort of outcast in the global Jihadi community. Now it is perhaps ISIS’s biggest affiliate.”
“ISIS gets more international legitimacy as a global caliphate,” he said.
According to the Intel Center, 31 groups worldwide have expressed support for ISIS.