There are attacks in Mogadishu on ice cream eateries, cars running over people in London driven by knife wielding assailants, and IEDs targeting police forces in northeastern Kenya.
What these attacks have in common is that they are launched to advance an ambition to build a religious-political caliphate on this earth that would destroy all democracy, and bring all Muslims, Christians, Jews and all other faiths under the domination of a violent, fanatical Islamist vision.
Already we have seen a slice of what this world would look like. The canings and beatings by Al Shabaab of Somalis who watch football…no, Premier League.
There has been the targeting of Christians, especially in the Middle East, who are forced to pay a tax and agree to be second class citizens otherwise death is the only option.
In Iraq and Syria this has led to the decimation of Christian populations. Egyptian Coptic Christians have been murdered in their churches and had their throats slit on Libyan beaches. In Kenya, buses have been stopped by Al Shabaab and Christians dragged out and shot in the back of the head for being Christian.
Only Salah Farah, one of Kenya’s greatest heroes in our decades of independence, stood tall and refused, as a Muslim, to stand aside from his Christian countrymen. Churches have been attacked; the tragedy is seeing churches in parts of the Kenya needing police security on Sundays.
The slave markets have reopened in Libya and in the Middle East. Africans trying to migrate to Europe are being sold on slave blocks. ISIS is publishing rules about having sex with the slave a Jihadist purchases.
Kenyan women are being fooled into going to Somalia by Al Shabaab only to be turned into sex slaves. Brutal rapes by gangs of men have become the way. The BBC reports, the media reports. There is loud silence from the UN and the many gender- and sexual-violence focused NGOs. The politicians are quiet. Slavery is back. Or perhaps it never left if the stories of Kenyans brutalized as immigrant labour in the Middle East are any evidence. The slavery that lasted for hundreds of years in Kenya and East Africa is back.
The vision of the terrorists is also held by supporters who are “peaceful”. They only disagree on tactics. Some want the Caliphate now through violence (ISIS immediately, Al Shabaab and al Qaeda in the near future) while others like Hizb ut Tahrir, which claims to be peaceful, and tries to operate under our constitutional freedoms, want it even further into the future.
The terrorist attacks are just a tool. To divide the world. To terrorize Muslims into adopting the radical, fanatical salafism of the terrorists. To terrorize governments and civil society into making concessions to Islamism and reversing democracy, secular freedoms and the rule of law.
In recent weeks, John Lenczowski, the President of the Institute of World Politics, testified to the US Senate on what must be done to defeat radical Islamism before it destroys democracies like Kenya. He said that attention should be paid to the “corrupt, dishonest, hypocritical leaders whose goal has been political power and/or personal wealth and not holiness”.
We should all note the cruelty of these groups and their totalitarian nature “including systematic violations of human rights, enforced conformity, thought and speech control, mistrust, atomization, violence, fear, and lack of respect for the dignity of the human person.” We should condemn, in no uncertain terms, the “Jihadists return of slavery (including sex slavery)”.
The Kenyan government should table a continental resolution, at the next African Union summit, to condemn, criminalize and challenge all forms of slavery and its new push by Islamists. If Africans do not fight slavery, given our terrible history, then we are not fit to be free.
Law enforcement should note that Al Shabaab and others like it have “active collaboration with criminal activity, including narcotics, kidnapping, human trafficking, and smuggling”. Corruption is what enables these crimes in Kenya. Corruption, therefore, is helping terrorism. Perhaps it is time that corrupt government officers were charged with treason for crimes that aid the enemy who kills our children.
Lenczowski continued to note that the radical Islamists thrive on “economic privation, aggravated by lack of freedom to innovate, a culture of fatalism, and intellectual stasis”, and that they are pursuing a cause intended to gradually turn “non-Muslim majorities into minorities by extermination, conversion, persecution, traumatization, and humiliation through militant Jihad and subsequent Islamist domination in a parasitical Caliphate (where the subservient condition of the non-Moslem is called ‘dhimmitude’)”.
Kenyans of all religions must wake up to the threat. It is not just bombs and bullets. It is a radical vision that will enslave us all. Political and religious leaders, both Muslim and Christian, must rally together. They must issue fatwas and edicts against militant salafism, while noting that other forms of salafist worship are legitimate. The government must do more to challenge the spreading of this idea of the caliphate since we know it is intimately connected to terrorist violence and it is an assault on our freedom as Kenyans and Africans.
Charities promoting it, in any way, must not be allowed to operate in Kenya. We fought the totalitarian idea of British colonialism, based on the evil idea of white supremacy, and won; we must fight the totalitarian idea of militant Jihadism and militant salafism and win to remain free.
(Curtis is a seciruty analyst based in Nairobi)