Somaliland sun- While Islamist extremism in East Africa is often associated with al Shabaab and Somalia, it has been expanding to varying degrees throughout the region.
And while Militant Islamist ideology has emerged only relatively recently in the region—imported from the Arab world—challenging long-established norms of tolerance, this is according to a report by the African Centre for Strategic studies, adding that , Confronting Islamist extremism with heavy-handed or extrajudicial police actions is likely to backfire by inflaming real or perceived socioeconomic cleavages and exclusionist narratives used by violent extremist groups.
The report attributes to the growth of Salafist ideology in East Africa which has challenged long established norms of tolerance and interfaith cooperation in the region,
This is an outcome of a combination of external and internal factors that includes a decades-long effort by religious foundations in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to promulgate ultraconservative interpretations of Islam throughout East Africa’s mosques, madrassas, and Muslim youth and cultural centers. Rooted within a particular Arab cultural identity, this ideology has fostered more exclusive and polarizing religious relations in the region, which has contributed to an increase in violent attacks. These tensions have been amplified by socioeconomic differences and often heavy-handed government responses that are perceived to punish entire communities for the actions of a few.
The Centre states that “Redressing these challenges will require sustained strategies to rebuild tolerance and solidarity domestically as well as curb the external influence of extremist ideology and actors. For full detail click to read Islamist Extremism in East Africa