Raids and rehabilitation: Kenya’s dual fight against Islamic extremism
For years, Kenya has been dealing with the problem of Islamic extremism. The country’s high unemployment rate and prevalence of drug use have left young men purposeless, resentful, and vulnerable to extremism. Experts say that after Somalia, Kenya is one of the biggest sources of fighters for the terror group known as Al-Shabaab.
Increasingly, the Kenyan government has been taking steps to root out extremists on its own soil, but the crackdown has been marked by disappearances and extrajudicial killings, which has only inflamed the simmering resentments of young men in the coastal city of Mombasa.
In 2014, Kenyan police raided a mosque in Mombasa that was believed to have ties to Al-Shabaab, and 250 people were arrested. Police said they recovered a small cache of grenades and other weapons. Many Muslims now see themselves engaged in a struggle with overzealous local cops, eroding their city’s true character of storied Islamic history and distinct Swahili culture.
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