Islamists stormed a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya on 21 September. As we go to press, they are known to have killed 62 people and injured 170.
The killers released people only if they could prove they were Muslims. The events should hammer home three things often denied on the left.
First: Islamists are different from specially religious Muslims.
Islamists are right-wing, fascistic political people who use and abuse Muslim religion for their political ends. They are not primarily religious, any more than Spain’s dictator from 1939 to 1976, Franco, was primarily a good Christian.
They are enemies of ordinary Muslims, as Franco was of most of Spain’s Christians.
Second: a pretence of anti-imperialism does not make Islamism progressive.
The Islamists were responding to the Kenyan army’s action in Somalia. They targeted a posh shopping mall — “a place”, as a spokesperson told Al Jazeera (23 Sep) “where there are Jewish and American shops”.
But in no way does it contribute to any liberation to kill tourists, or better-off workers, or shopworkers, or children caught up in the gunfire — or people of any sort targeted as being Kenyan and non-Muslim?
Third: the chief victim of the Islamists is not “imperialism”, but the ordinary people (including, most often, the Muslim people) of the countries where they are based.