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Since capturing the world’s attention with the documented beheading of American journalist James Foley, ISIS has proven itself as a stronghold throughout the Middle East and in northern Africa.
Boko Haram, another Islamic extremist organization based in Nigeria, is currently operating within the same vicinity as the terrorist organization, causing speculation about whether or not the two organizations could join forces.
A U.S. intelligence official said although the two organizations are operating out of a similar territory, the one aspect that could keep them from collaborating is racism, NBC News reported.
“The Arab world is incredibly racist,” the official said in an interview with NBC News. “They don’t see black Africans as equivalent to them.”
ISIS, also known as The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, declared itself a “worldwide caliphate” in June 2014 and currently operates in Iraq, Syria and northern Africa.
Through its propaganda wing, al-Hayat Media, ISIS released a video where its members appeared to behead 21 Egyptian Christians on a Liberian beach last Sunday.
Boko Haram made worldwide headlines last April when its members kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls in the dead of night.
Last Saturday, Boko Haram seemed prepared to attack the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, which could put nearly 200,000 Christians at risk.
While the Islamic extremist organizations share similar beliefs, they vary heavily in their numbers. ISIS has as many as 31,000 fighters while Boko Haram has about 6,000. ISIS has also gained a greater worldwide following; about 2,700 of their soldiers are Westerners.
For now, officials believe the Syrian-based group has no ties with Boko Haram.
“There are still questions of the ISIS view of Boko Haram and Nigeria,” the official said. “But Boko Haram does not operate in sync with ISIS. The caliphates are separate.”
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