WashPost Notes 'Militants' Behind Fatal Kenya Church Attacks; Reporter Fails to Describe Suspected Group as Terrorists

Washington Post reporter Sudarsan Raghavan filed a 12-paragraph story today, published on page A9 about "coordinated assaults... in the town of Garissa" Kenya on Sunday morning in which "[m]asked gunmen sprayed bullets and hurled grenades at two churches... killing at least 15 people and injuring several."

"It was the latest in a series of attacks in this East African nation suspected of being carried out by al-Qaeda-linked militants from neighboring Somalia or their sympathizers," Raghavan noted. Yet nowhere in his story did he describe the group suspected as responsible, al-Shabab, as a terrorist entity, but merely as an "Islamist... militia." The United States government considers al-Shabab a terrorist entity. From the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) website:


On 29 February 2008, the US Government designated al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (as amended) and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224 (as amended).

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, al-Shabab has attracted radicalized Muslims not only from Africa and the Middle East, but from within the United States:

Foreign fighters have traveled to Somalia to fight with al-Shabaab, as have Somalis from the United Kingdom and the United States. "We have seen an increasing number of individuals here in the United States become captivated by extremist ideologies or causes," said White House National Security Adviser John Brennan in a May 2010 speech, noting, among others, five Somali-Americans that left Minnesota to fight in Somalia. U.S.-born Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki joined al-Shabaab in 2007 and has become the recognizable face of the group (NYT), starring in propaganda videos that have helped recruit hundreds of foreign fighters, according to intelligence officials. In June 2010, two U.S. citizens from New Jersey (CSMonitor) were arrested at New York's JFK Airport after allegations that they planned to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabaab. The arrests came amid a growing trend in which radicalized Americans have become involved in terrorism-related activities.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters