By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Worthy News)– As the number of murders by a militant Islamic group in Nigeria continue to grow, some Congressmen are questioning the Obama administration’s refusal to officially designate it as a terrorist organization.
Boko Haram, which translates as “Western education is sinful,” wants to create an Islamist state ruled by shar'ia; to that end, the group unleashed a series of deadly bombings against Nigerian churches last Christmas that killed and maimed many defenseless parishioners.
Yet despite its murderous agenda, some senior U.S. officials claim they just don’t know enough about Boko Haram to put it on a watch list.
"The U.S. government has a lot to learn about Boko Haram and their intelligence should remain high," said Morgan Roach of the Heritage Foundation, "but that should not be an excuse for inaction."
In May, action by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) came in the form of a resolution urging the State Department to either designate Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, or explain its reasons for not doing so.
"We’re seeing a growing body of work, not a diminishing body of work," said Meehan, "and I think the more those activities carry on, the greater the demand will be for the Department of State to explain the position that they’re taking."
General Carter Ham of the U.S. military’s Africa Command claims Boko Haram is now allied with al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Somalia’s al Sha'bab, two militant Islamic groups that the State Department has already designated as terrorist organizations.
This designation may be exactly what Boko Haram wants: it could raise the group's "street cred," which would aid it in recruiting new members, according to William Minter, an expert on African issues. However, Meehan thinks the designation would encourage the Nigerian government to improve its security, especially around Christian buildings.
Closer to home, Meehan said America must take Boko Haram more seriously in order to avoid future domestic disasters.
"We don’t get to choose those who are making threats against the country," said Meehan, "nor do we get the luxury of choosing how we might characterize them."
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