Thursday, October 16

An editorial in the WaPo on Africa: Radical Islam's Move on Africa

...radical Islamist schools, are leaving to avoid arrest in a government crackdown on Islamic extremism.
"About 500 have already moved to South Africa. . . . Others are planning to pack their bags."

If true, this is indeed alarming. Cape Town suffered from a string of Islamic terrorist attacks. The rise of the vigilante group PAGAD (People against Gangsterism and Drugs) in 1996 was seen initially as a response against crime and the gangs that rule in the Cape Flats.

Their power and influence increased dramatically however over a short span of time, and in 1998 their main aim seemed to be the overthrow of the government in favour of an Islamic regime, and the support of other Islamic groups by targeting western targets such as the 'Planet Hollywood' bombing at the waterfront in August 1998 in response to the bombing of Sudan by the Clinton government . This has been blamed on funding from Iran or Saudi Arabia, and the apparent take-over of the group by the militant Islamic group Qibla. There have been a number of visits by high level members of the Saudi royal family to Cape Town, as well as a visit by the Iranian Foreign minister at around that time. Rumours of meetings between them and PAGAD have been rife.

With the recognition that PAGAD as a terrorist organization funded by foreign governments, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) was tasked with stopping their activities (All out war, as described by some.). In this they have had spectacular success. The core of PAGAD, the G-force (Gun force), has about 50 members of which most are now in jail. A seemingly incessant terrorist campaign in the Cape peninsula came to a dramatic end.

South Africa has a small Muslim population however (2% of the population), so the chance of forming an Islamic republic here has about as much chance as Saddam Hussein has of a happy retirement. If there is a new move by Islamic fundamentalist to Cape Town however, it cannot be a good thing.

A 'very' even handed discussion of the events around this time can be found here. A nice "One Mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter" article by the BBC can be found here.


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