WASHINGTON, June 5, 2012 — Today on Capitol Hill, AIC’s Chief Operating Officer Abdel Maliky will speak as part of a panel on the impact of the Arab Spring on Nigeria and Boko Haram. The panel will address the International Religious Freedom Caucus, Capitol Hill staffers and the public.

The panel will take place today in Rayburn House Office Building 2103 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Topics to be addressed include:

  • Who is Nigeria’s Boko Haram and how linked are they to terrorist groups in the region?
  • What is the ideology behind Boko Haram and who are they targeting?
  • What impact did the Arab Spring have on West Africa?
  • Why should the U.S. care what happens in Nigeria and what are our options?

Founded in 2002 by Mohammad Yusuf, Boko Haram has become increasingly violent over the past few years in their attacks against moderate Muslims, Christians, and the Nigerian government.  While these attacks have been primarily contained to the north, Boko Haram’s increases in power and possible ties to Somalia’s al Shabaab and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have brought them to the attention of many U.S. policy makers.

At this briefing sponsored by the International Religious Freedom Caucus, the panel will discuss the origins of Boko Haram, their motivation and goals, and recent developments within the group. It also will examine the tension between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government, which has violently tried to suppress the group, but has yet to be successful.  With this context, the panel will explain Boko Haram’s attacks against Christians and moderate Muslims and how this should shape the discussion around U.S. policy.


  • Peter M. Lewis, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of the African Studies Program, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
  • Khataza Gondwe, Ph.D., Research and Advocacy Officer for Sub-Saharan Africa, Christian Solidarity Worldwide–UK
  • Mr. Abdel Maliky, Chief Operations Officer, American Islamic Congress


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