Mohammed Yusuf (Boko Haram)
Mohammed Yusuf (29 January 1970 – 30 July 2009), also known as Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, was a Nigerian Muslim sect leader. He was born in Girgir village, in Jakusko, present day Yobe State, Nigeria. He founded the militant Islamist group Boko Haram in 2002 and was its spiritual leader until he was killed in the 2009 Boko Haram uprising. The group's official name is "Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati wal-Jihad", which in Arabic means "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad". Yusuf was a Salafi.
In a 2009 BBC interview, Yusuf stated his belief that the concept of a spherical Earth is contrary to Islamic teaching and should be rejected, along with Darwinian evolution, and the concept of rain originating from water evaporated by the sun. In the interview he said:
"There are prominent Islamic preachers who have seen and understood that the present Western-style education is mixed with issues that run contrary to our beliefs in Islam," he said.
"Like saying the world is a sphere. If it runs contrary to the teachings of Allah, we reject it. We also reject the theory of Darwinism."
Yusuf had four wives and 12 children.
Following the July 2009 Boko Haram uprising, the Nigerian military captured Yusuf in his parents-in-law's house and handed him over to the Nigerian police force. The police then summarily executed him in public view outside the police headquarters in Maiduguri. Police officials initially claimed that either Yusuf was shot while trying to escape or died of wounds he sustained during a gunbattle with the military.
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