Terrorist atrocities by Sunni Muslim extremists are on the verge of becoming the world’s white noise. Two weeks ago, there was an attack by three killers swearing allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, against tourists visiting the Bardo National Museum in Tunis. The majority of the twenty-two victims were Westerners, mostly Christians. Two days later, another ISIS detachment bombed two Shiite mosques in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, murdering a hundred and forty-two civilians.
Yesterday, there was an early-morning attack on Garissa University College, in a rural area of the former North Eastern Province of Kenya, a hundred and twenty miles from the Somali border. By the end of the day, a hundred and forty-seven people were said to be dead, including the four gunmen, who were from Shabab, the Somali militant Islamist group. The other hundred and forty-three were students.
The Shabab killers shot people indiscriminately as they launched their attack. Once they had forced their way inside the dormitories, however, they were more methodical, taking hostages and separating them into two groups: Muslim and Christians. Muslim survivors have said that a number of their Christian classmates claimed to be Muslims, only to be shot in the head when they failed to correctly recite passages from the Koran. The Star, a Kenyan newspaper, reported that a twenty-one-year-old student called her parents on her cell phone soon after the attack began, warning them of what was taking place and telling them to “pray hard.” Minutes later, one of the terrorists used the phone to call her parents again and tell them that he had just killed their daughter.