From Syria to Iraq, Kenya to Malaysia: How new era of Islamic fundamentalism is spreading fear and chaos around the world
- Internet flooded with images and videos of executions from Sunni militants aiming to topple Iraqi government
- At least five die in Kenya attack just days after Al Qaeda-inspired group Al Shabaab kill 60 in twin massacres
- Islamist militants Boko Haram feared to have snatched 90 villagers in Nigeria after kidnapping 300 Christian girls
- Attacks between Christian and Islamic militia in Central African Republic 'risk creating conditions for genocide'
- Sudanese woman freed from death row for marrying a Christian is re-arrested for not using her Muslim name
- Middle East security expert: 'All the evidence shows that extremism is on the rise - but Islam is not to blame'
Over the last month, the world's media has been awash with gruesome images of barbarism - pulled into sharp focus in recent days with the barrage of horrific videos and hate-filled messages pouring onto the internet from Sunni militants in Iraq.
But it is far from restricted to that country alone. In just the last few days:
has emerged showing armed militant children as young as eight watching
as an Iraqi prisoner is executed by ISIS, while another shows a captured
Iraqi police officer being beheaded;
- At least five people have died in an attack on Kenya's coast just days after Al Qaeda-inspired terror group Al Shabaab kills 60 in twin massacres;
- Islamist militants Boko Haram are feared to have snatched 90 villagers in the same area of Nigeria where they seized nearly 300 Christian schoolgirls two months ago;
- A human rights group has warned that revenge attacks between Christian and Islamic militia in the Central African Republic risk creating conditions for a genocide reminiscent of Bosnia in the 1990s.
tonight, an explosion in a Nigerian shopping mall killed at least 21
and injured at least 17 people as the nation prepared to watch its
football team play Argentina in the World Cup
earlier today, a suicide bomber killed himself and wounded several
security officers at a hotel in Raouche in Beirut, Lebanon, close to the
Saudi Arabian embassy
Global fundamentalism: Some of the countries spanning two continents where extreme Islamic acts have been perpetrated in recent days and weeks
Another form of religious
extremism has also gained widespread attention and subsequent outrage in
Sudan, where a mother was handed the death sentence for marrying a
Christian and was forced to give birth in shackles in prison.
Mariam Yehya Ibrahim was released after an international outcry, but yesterday was re-arrested and charged with fraud as she tried to leave the country with her American husband, Daniel Wani, and their two children.
The Sudanese authorities claim she failed to use her Muslim name on her travel documents.
Also yesterday, the highest court in Malaysia upheld a ban on Catholics using the word Allah to refer to their own god in what some experts fear is the latest step in a creeping Islamisation of the country.
Disturbing: An ISIS militant holds the prisoner's head as he prepares for the execution while a young boy (circled) watches on just a few feet away
Taking no prisoners: Footage posted on YouTube appears to show ISIS militants carrying out summary executions on dozens of captured soldiers in Syria
In Libya, voters were heading to the polls for parliamentary elections which they hope will bring in a government that can clamp down on violence at the hands of a patchwork of militias, including Islamic extremists, that continues to grip the country since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi.
Meanwhile, the lightning insurgency by Sunni militants ISIS threatens to overthrow the Shia-led Iraqi government and even break up the entire country as it seeks to create an Islamic state.
Andreas Kreig, a Middle East security analyst at King's College London in Qatar, said he had noticed a rise in extremism in recent weeks and months, but said Islam wasn't to blame.
told MailOnline: 'All the empirical evidence shows that it is on the rise. You're seeing it in all the headlines, then you're
looking at Iraq, you're looking at Syria, you're looking at Nigeria.
'But in all three cases this has nothing to do with Islam. I think people in the West may think it is because they feel alienated by Islam. There is alot of Islamaphobia.'
Horrific: Twin attacks in Kenya claimed by Al Shabaab, left at least 60 dead. Five people were killed in another attack a few days later
Attack: Nigerians are calling for action after Boko Haram militants are said to have kidnapped a further 91 people after snatching nearly 300 schoolgirls two months ago
Mr Kreig said more and more communities - often disillusioned by austerity or other grievances - have turned to religious groups as an alternative to secular regimes in recent years.
He said: 'When communities become disenfranchised - and lot of them are muslim - they use Islam to further their particular cause.
'They adhere to a radical interpretation of Islam, but it has nothing to do with the religion.'
ISIS, in particular, appear to relish their growing publicity, increasingly courting online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to promote their hate-filled agendas of murder and oppression.
Professor Lee Marsden, international terrorism expert and head of East Anglia University's School of Political, Social and International Studies, said: 'Images of brutality perpetrated by these terrorist groups are being circulated around the world on an unprecedented scale.
'While the levels of brutality seen here by ISIS and al-Shabaab are no different from what we have seen them do before, the way they are publicising their acts of terror is wholly new.'
Cruel: Mariam Yehya Ibrahim poses hours after her release with her husband, Daniel (left) and her children, Martin (on Daniel's knee) and baby Maya and all those who bravely fought for her freedom in Sudan after she was sent to death row for marrying a Christian
In nearby Afghanistan,
Taliban insurgents hellbent on destroying the first peaceful transfer of
authority, ordered voters not to participate in the weekend's general
And in further blow to the global fight against terrorism, Nigeria's former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, said the 200 schoolgirls taken snatched from the classrooms in the village of Chibok by Bokok Haram in northeast Nigeria in April may never return home.
Boko Haram, which wants to set up an Islamist caliphate in Africa's largest economy, has fought back against an army offensive and killed thousands in bomb and gun attacks, striking as far afield as the central city of Jos and the capital Abuja.
‘I believe that some of them will never return. We will still be hearing about them many years from now,’ Obasanjo told the BBC's Hausa-language radio service last week. ‘If you get all of them back, I will consider it a near-miracle...'