Boko Haram has previously relied on bank robberies and raids on army depots to fund and arm their activities. Demanding jizya may suggest a shift in Boko Haram’s revenue collection tactics or increased territorial control.
Prior evidence of Boko Haram interest in jizya has been somewhat limited and recent. One of the Christian girls abducted by Boko Haram said her captors raped her with the justification of “sex as jizya.” Another source alleged that the jizya was the basis for the kidnapping of the 230 girls in the first place, saying that the girls’ failure to pay the tax justified their sale as wives or slaves in order to compensate Boko Haram.
Jizya, though not officially collected by governments of the modern Islamic world, is known to fund terrorist groups including the Taliban, Abu Sayyaf, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. The success of such measures and relative indifference of the West toward such illegal taxation may have emboldened Boko Haram to embrace the jizya concept.
The imposition of jizya against non-Muslims is mandated by the Qur’an (9:29), and according to the Hadith Sahih Muslim, the penalty for failure to either convert to Islam or pay the tax is to be attacked.