What is Nigeria's Boko Haram? 5 things to know

3. What do they do?

Boko Haram initially carried out small attacks, but it hit the big time in July 2009, when it launched five days of attacks against churches and political leaders in the northern town of Maiduguri that left 700 people dead.

Boko Haram later organized a prison break in 2010, freeing 700 convicts, some of whom joined Boko Haram’s ranks.

Bombs killed 80 people in the northern city of Jos in Dec. 2010. Bombs exploded over several days in May 2011 following Goodluck Jonathan’s inauguration as president. And an August 2011 bomb blast at UN headquarters in Abuja killed 24.

In June 2011, the group took credit for the suicide car bombing of the Nigerian police headquarters in Abuja in June 2011, saying in a statement that the attack was meant “to prove a point to all those who doubt our capability.”

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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