Is Islamic Terrorism Resurgent?

Islamic terrorism hasn’t been much in the news lately. My sense is that, while it obviously hasn’t gone away, it has receded in recent years. But a series of attacks during the last week raise, at least, the question whether Islamic terrorism is again rearing its head.

Today is Palm Sunday, and in Indonesia two homicide bombers said to be followers of the Islamic State attacked a Catholic church:

Two attackers believed to be members of a militant network that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group blew themselves up outside a packed Roman Catholic cathedral during a Palm Sunday Mass on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, wounding at least 20 people, police said.
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National Police Chief Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo told reporters when he visited the crime scene late Sunday that the two attackers are believed to have been members of the militant group Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State group and was responsible for deadly suicide bombings on Indonesian churches in 2018.
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A video of the scene of the attack obtained by The Associated Press showed body parts scattered near a burning motorbike at the gates of the church.

The next story has been going on for several days, but somehow I missed it until yesterday. A group of around 100 armed, organized terrorists attacked the city of Palma in Mozambique, where a multi-billion dollar natural gas project is being developed. They apparently have held the town for several days, with Mozambique’s government evidently unable to dislodge them:

Dozens of people have been killed in an attack by Islamist insurgents on the northern Mozambique town of Palma. … Among the dead were seven people killed when a convoy of cars was ambushed in an escape attempt.
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Witnesses have described bodies in the streets of Palma, some of them beheaded. On Friday, militants ambushed a convoy of people, including foreign workers, attempting to escape a hotel.
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French energy group Total said on Saturday it was calling off a planned resumption of construction at its $20 billion development following the attack and would reduce its workforce to a ‘strict minimum’.

The company pulled out the majority of its workforce in January due to insecurity in Cabo Delgado province, which has been the target of an insurgency linked to Islamic State since 2017.

It seems striking that such a brazen and bloody terrorist attack has gotten relatively little press coverage.

Then, of course, we have mass murderer Ahmad Al Issa in Boulder. It is not yet clear whether Issa’s ideology was radical Islam or garden-variety liberalism. Nor is it clear whether philosophy, in either case, was overwhelmed by mental illness. But there are reports that Issa was on the FBI’s radar as one who was sympathetic to ISIS, so it may be that his murders will ultimately be recorded as acts of Islamic terror.

I still think the threat of Islamic terrorism has declined somewhat, but these attacks are a reminder that we can’t be complacent about the extent of the ongoing threat.

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