The state of the Islamic world in a nut-shell.

MAIDUGURI, NigeriaA Muslim cleric who embraced nonviolence and spoke out against the sectarian violence plaguing northeast Nigeria died Sunday after suffering gunshot wounds in an apparent attack by a radical sect, witnesses said.

Imam Ibrahim Ahmed Abdullahi died in the shade of his Maiduguri mosque after gunmen from the Boko Haram sect apparently jumped out of a sport utility vehicle and opened fire, witnesses told The Associated Press. Abdullahi suffered five gunshot wounds and died as the gunmen apparently escaped into the restive city.

Authorities thought they destroyed Boko Haram in 2009 after Nigeria’s military crushed its mosque into concrete shards, and its leader was arrested and died in police custody. But now, more than a year later, Maiduguri and surrounding villages again live in fear of the group. Western diplomats also worry that the sect is catching the attention of al-Qaida’s North Africa branch.

Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sacrilege” in the local Hausa language, has engineered a massive prison break and killed a prominent gubernatorial candidate in recent months. Police also accuse members of the group of carrying out targeted assassinations against local religious leaders and others who speak out against the group.

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