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.