Over the weekend radical Islamists attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya killing at least 68 people and wounding hundreds more. This is just the latest horrific example of the dangerous rise of radical Islam.
The Westlake Mall in Nairobi is an upscale shopping center no different than you would see in the United States. Three days ago it was overrun by heavily armed Islamic radicals and the situation remains on-going with hostages and terrorists still inside the mall. Those who have claimed responsibility for the attack are members of al Shabaab, a Somali-militant group with links to al Qaeda. According to Rep. Peter King, this group has actively recruited members from the United States, as the FBI has been investigating “a pipeline from the Twin Cities in Minnesota to the Somali terrorist group.” And while it is unconfirmed at this time, it is believed that Americans may be fighting as terrorist members of al Shabaab in this latest attack. A senior Kenyan security official said that those facilitating the attack are from many nations. He says, "We have also have an idea that this is not a local event. We are fighting global terrorism here and we have sufficient intel (intelligence) to suggest that.”
Reports of the attack indicate that these radical Islamic jihadists with ties to al Qaeda actively separated non-Muslims from Muslims, allowing the Muslims to go free. Victims were told to recite Islamic prayer. If they could not, they were shot execution-style. This includes children. Al Shabaab's Twitter account sent this passage from the Koran during the attack: “Plant firmly our feet and give us victory over (Al-Kafireen) the disbelieving people.” (Koran 2:250). This is truly a tragedy in the face of ideological evil.
The attack calls into question two things.
The first is the safety of soft targets around the world, including here in America. Remember that al Qaeda documents revealed earlier this year show that al Qaeda's strategy (at least at one point) was to focus on “soft targets.” In this case we have a beautiful upscale shopping mall – a beacon of Western culture – being used as a killing ground to make a statement about Islam.
The other issue is that of President Obama's message of al Qaeda being “decimated” or “on the run.” It wasn't too long ago that he was boldly making these claims on the campaign trail. But now it seems as though he was premature in his assessment or simply lied to us about the true dangers of radical Islam. I've said for a while now that I believe we will look back through the prism of history and realize that we are currently witnessing the rise of the radical Islamists. This administration's failure to identify this trend, call it for what it is and have a coherent strategy to do something about it will be much to the detriment of our safety and the stability of the world.