For several days last week, the world watched in horror as Somali fanatics slaughtered shoppers in a Nairobi mall. The chilling video footage from security cameras, along with the terrifying witness accounts of the carnage perpetrated by the terrorists, captured the attention of the world.
The revelations that the perpetrators quizzed their captives about Islam in order to identify and single out non- Muslims for death provided yet another stark and indisputable reminder of the danger posed by Islamic extremism.
Nonetheless, despite this latest act of unprovoked savagery, there are still many world leaders who just don't get it.
Take, for example, British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has shown a knack for sticking his head in the sand even though the beach at Southend-on-Sea is more than an hour's drive from London.
In a tweet he sent out in response to the Kenya attack, Cameron wrote, "I am sickened by the attack on the #Westgate shopping centre killing 3 British nationals," adding that, "It's been done in the name of terror, not religion."
Even in a medium dominated by the likes of intellectual heavyweights such as Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Britney Spears, Cameron's tweet stands out for its sheer foolishness.
Indeed, it is truly a sad case of wishful thinking taking the place of sober analysis.
To begin with, by what right does Cameron claim to know better than the culprits themselves what the motivation was for the attack? From the statements and tweets of the Somali al-Shabab terrorist group, which was behind the Kenyan bloodbath, it is patently clear what their motives were: religious zealotry as well as revenge for Kenyan military operations in Somalia.
Tweets issued by the al-Shabab press office (yes, they actually seem to have one), repeatedly referred to the terrorists as "mujahideen," or holy warriors, and to the victims as "kuffar," or infidels. That is not the political terminology of terrorists driven solely by a strategic agenda.
It is religious Islamic imagery being used by religious Muslims who view their actions as furthering a religious aim.
Hence, for Cameron to assert that the Kenya outrage had nothing to do with religion is simply false.
In a subsequent statement, Cameron went even further and said, "They do it in the name of terror, violence and extremism and their warped view of the world. They don't represent Islam or Muslims in Britain or anywhere else in the world."
While I certainly would like to hope that Cameron is right, the question remains: who is the British prime minister to declare whether they do or do not represent Islam or Muslims? Isn't that for Muslims themselves to decide? And if what Cameron says is true, why has al-Shabab succeeded in recruiting funds and personnel for its nefarious aims in the United States, Britain and elsewhere? And why hasn't there been resounding, worldwide condemnation of al-Shabab and its actions by Muslim religious, communal and civic leaders? Cameron, like so many others, prefers to live with the soothing and comforting fiction that it is only a small, marginal band of extremists that is behind such atrocities.
But the fact is that in just the past two weeks alone, Kenya was not the only country to be hit by Islamic terrorism.
The Philippines, Thailand, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Israel all suffered attacks by Muslim terrorists. These included the bombing of churches and passenger buses, assaults against funeral worshipers and policemen, beheadings, car bombings and ambushes.
Each attack requires not just attackers, but people who plan them, finance them, harbor the assailants and sustain the organizational infrastructure behind them.
Whether we like it or not, murder and mayhem in the name of religion is something that is far too widespread in the Muslim world.
Ironically, most of the victims of Muslim terror are actually fellow Muslims, and it would of course be unfair and inaccurate to paint all Muslims with the brush of extremism. A study published last month by Pew Research's Global Attitudes Project found that two-thirds of the Muslims surveyed said they are concerned about Islamic extremism in their home countries, most revile al-Qaida and many see no justification for suicide attacks. These findings are encouraging, and offer a glimmer of hope that extremism can perhaps be defeated.
But the only way to do so is to acknowledge reality, not deny it; That same Pew study also found that 20 percent of Turks, 25% of Egyptians, 33% of Lebanese and 62% of Palestinians all believe that suicide bombings are often or sometimes justified.
This means tens of millions of Muslims have no moral or religious qualms about people strapping a bomb to themselves and carrying out a suicide attack. That is hardly a small or marginal number.
Clearly, Cameron and others like him prefer to repeat the mantra that terrorism has nothing to do with religion in order not to offend Muslims. But what they fail to realize is that by doing so, they insult and obfuscate the truth.
That might make for good electoral politics, but in the struggle to save Western civilization, it is a foolish and dangerous act of self-deception.