One day last week BBC World Service Radio was promoting a documentary on “Islamophobia.”
Dictionary.com defines Islamophobia as “hatred or fear of Muslims or of their politics or culture.”
Unfortunately for the BBC, the advertized program was broadcast the day after the end of the siege of the Westgate Mall, in Nairobi, Kenya. It’s highly likely that many listeners are Islamophobic.
It wasn’t just the upscale Nairobi Mall that contributed to a rise in the number of Islamophobes. While the siege was going on, Islamic militants blew up a Protestant Christian church in Pakistan, killing over 80 people and injuring hundreds, including many children. The attack on the Mall focused mostly on the rooftop car park where a children’s cooking show was being recorded. Clearly, children will not be spared!
On the same day as the Mall attack, Iraq suffered one of its worst days of terrorism:
“On 21 September 2013, a series of car and suicide bombings struck the central and northern regions of Iraq, with the largest attack targeting a funeral in Sadr City, a predominantly Shi’ite neighborhood of Baghdad. The attacks left at least 107 dead and more than 200 others injured.“ (Wikipedia)
Nearly a thousand civilians a month are dying in Iraq as Sunni Muslims target the majority Shi’ite population.
These attacks were carried out by Sunni Muslims affiliated with al-Qaeda. Al-Shabab is also affiliated with the better-known international terror network.
Is there any wonder that millions of people suffer from Islamophobia?
Al-Shabab (“The Youth” in Arabic) is a militant Islamic group based in Somalia. “The Shabab has proved impossible to dislodge from its southern Somali redoubts and has promised that the Westgate attack will be followed by others of its kind.” (“The state of al-Qaeda,” The Economist, September 28th)
American news programs during the siege highlighted the Minneapolis connection. The twin cities have the highest Somali population in the US. Second generation Somalis are being recruited to join al-Shabab. Claims that the Mall attackers included some Americans and one British woman have not been verified.
Typically, following a successful terror attack, Americans reacted blindly, flailing wildly to try to anticipate the next attack. As a result, the Mall of America, the country’s largest mall, which happens to be in Minneapolis, is jacking up its security. Al-Qaeda (and its Al-Shabab affiliate) is not dumb – any mall attack in the United States is more likely to be elsewhere.
People with long memories will remember when there were no Somalis in the US, prior to the 1965 change in immigration law. Any hope of a reversal of the “new” law is not likely – neither party seems inclined to do anything which would have a positive effect in this area of counter-terrorism. President Obama spoke recently of the need to rid Syria of chemical weapons so as to protect our children – a change in US immigration law would be more effective.
As with the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, “non-Muslims were singled out for execution; hostages were taken to prolong the drama; well-trained fighters were able to hold off security forces for a considerable time; and, as at least six dead Britons bear witness, the killers picked a target with a Western clientele. Such attacks are easier to plan and execute than blowing up airliners and more glamorous (for the fighters involved) than suicide bombings. As a result Western intelligence agencies fear that they may become increasingly popular.” (ibid. The Economist)
In May President Obama declared that al-Qaeda was on the “path to defeat.” The reality is very different. The Economist article contained the following disturbing observation made by a counter-terrorism intelligence expert: “Tactically, we may have defeated the central leadership, but strategically, they are winning.”
Al-Qaeda’s goal remains the same – the establishment of an Islamic caliphate across the Islamic world subject to sharia law. Their vision allows no place for western influence.
Indeed, a few days after the Mall attack, an agricultural school in northern Nigeria was attacked by Boko Haram. Dozens of young students were killed while they slept. Boko Haram means “western education is a sin.” The movement is another affiliate of al-Qaeda and has staged a number of attacks in Nigeria in recent years.
Al-Qaeda and its affiliates are concentrating right now on soft targets in their own backyard. But if they are to achieve their goal of an Islamic Caliphate and expel non-Muslims they will have to switch their tactics and concentrate more on western countries.
They will be helped in this by second generation Muslims whose parents immigrated to the West in recent decades and whose hatred of the countries that took them in knows no bounds.
When Jesus Christ was asked by His disciples, “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt 24:3) He first warned them of false religion, followed by “wars and rumors of wars.” (verses 4-6) This is where we are now.
False religion is not new. What is fairly new is the modern rise of Islam, once again pushing against the West as it has done periodically throughout history. There will no doubt be more attacks on malls, churches and schools. At some point, the West will hit back – and then we will see the fulfillment of the prophesied end-time events.
Islamophobia is not surprising. What is surprising is that there has been no backlash as a result of all the terrorist attacks in recent years. Now there’s a good program idea for the BBC!