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Islamic Extremism
Islamism Spreads in Africa

Fundamentalist Islamist movements have been gaining ground in Africa, as the Wall Street Journal reports:

Boko Haram—the regional affiliate of Islamic State and one of the world’s deadliest terrorist groups—has accelerated its campaign of almost daily suicide bombings. Just last month, the group massacred 86 people, many of them children, in the Nigerian village of Dalori and 32 others in the Cameroonian village of Bodo.

To the west, al Qaeda’s regional franchise has been waging war on the government of Mali and expanded its reach last month to the previously peaceful country of Burkina Faso, slaying at least 30 people—many of them Westerners—in an assault on a luxury hotel. In the east, another al Qaeda affiliate, Somalia’s al-Shabaab, overran an African Union military base three weeks ago and slaughtered more than 100 Kenyan troops.

The fundamentalist forms of Islam spreading in Africa, as well as the slow-simmering religious war between Christians and Muslims on the continent, are big stories. Sub-Saharan African Muslims are traditionally Sufi, a form of Islam that emphasizes individual spirituality and incorporates traditional African culture. However, as the WSJ reports, Wahhabism, funded and promoted by the Saudis, has increasingly come to Africa. And when you mix jihadist ideology with other factors in Africa—”weak states, poorly policed frontiers, rapid population growth and large pools of underemployed young men to the mix,” as we once wrote—the situation will likely worse before it gets better.

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  • Dale Fayda

    Impossible. According to Obama and the rest of the Democrat party, there is no such thing as Islamism. There are only individual misunderstood Moslem souls, traumatized into committing occasional violent acts by latent effects of Western Imperialism.

    • FriendlyGoat

      According to the critics of Obama, people who are already talked into being suicide bombers will moderate their views on that idea if only the infidels carpet-bomb some more Islamic places.

      I’m not an apologist for Islam. I detest it as a world view. But don’t imagine you’re cornering the market on sarcasm by making fun of Obama and the Democrats. There is plenty of reality-denial going around.

      • leoj

        “Moderation” is not the goal of carpet-bombing–better would be to speak of eradication. It would not be my solution, but it’s good to understand what’s being proposed. Your sarcasm misses the mark…

        • FriendlyGoat

          Some Americans are tempted to believe that radical Islam is just a few nuts in a specific geographical area and that eradication is therefore not only possible, but probably a simple matter. I tend to think this also is an example of “missing the mark”.

          • leoj

            I doubt Cruz thinks it would be simple. I take his talk of carpet bombing as a way of signaling “toughness” and favoring a more muscular foreign policy. Again, the rhetoric doesn’t really appeal to me, although the more assertive foreign policy might (one would like more details…).

  • Herzog

    Already in the 16th century the Muslims of the Horn (Afar and Somalis, mostly) tried to exterminate Christianity in Ethiopia, which by then had been Christian for more than a millenium. In the 19th century, a slew of “Sufi” reformers ignited bloody jihads in pretty much all of Sahelian Africa. The Sudanese Mahdi (written about by Churchill in his “River War”) who rose in the early 1880s in part came to power because he guaranteed his followers that they could go on enslaving the negroids of the what today is Southern Sudan, a privilege contested at the time by a modernizing Egypt trying to control Sudan.

    All these African Muslims either didn’t see themselves as Sufis, or if they did that certainly didn’t make made them into more “gentle” followers of Islam.

    • Rodney

      The Sufis of sub-Saharan Africa tend to be more tolerant of non-Islamic beliefs and even of open Christian missionary activity in their own countries, unusual for majority-Muslim states. Hopefully, they continue to be tolerant.

  • Beauceron

    Since Islam means peace and Islam is a religion of peace, how is this a bad thing?

    More Islam means more peace.

    • CapitalHawk

      Yes. Just like a boot stamping on a human face forever is peace. Just so long as you submit (which is what Islam actually translates to).

    • Honordads

      ‘Islam’ means ‘submission’, not ‘peace’. Google it.

  • Gene

    That things will get better might be an unwarranted assumption.

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