Earlier this week in the Westminster debate on faith and society (http://www.religionandsociety.org.uk/faith_debates/public_life), Tony Blair argued that the West is asleep on the issue of Islamic extremism (see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/9420909/Tony-Blair-The-West-is-asleep-on-the-issue-of-Islamist-extremism.html). Although I do not have sufficient evidence to say this is true or not, I think the international community needs to do more in dealing with this issue.
For the most part, attention on Islamic extremism has been directed to the Middle East region as well as in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, of late there have been serious incidents in Africa that evidently highlighted the spreading of Islamic extremism in the continent. In Nigeria, an extremist group, known as Boko Haram, has been causing chaos in the country such as burning the UN offices in Abuja and churches in other parts of Nigeria. In the same region of West Africa, the world was shocked to witness a very unwise and painful act by an Al Qaida linked group, Ansar Dine, which destroyed historical shrines and mosque in Timbuktu that has been there for centuries (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18785895 ). Moving to the Eastern region of Africa, another Al Qaida affiliated group, Al Shabaab, has been a painful thorn in Somalia and the whole region of Horn and East Africa. In Zanzibar, an extremist group known as Uamsho burned churches (http://allafrica.com/stories/201205280053.html).
These groups should not been taken lightly. The West has put enormous effort to fight Al Qaida and Islamic extremism in Middle East and in Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, more strategic efforts are needed to deal with similar groups that are mushrooming in Africa.
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