algeria-al qaedaEmboldened by America’s projection of weakness abroad, Islamists apparently linked to al-Qaeda reportedly continue to hold about 40 foreign hostages including seven Americans seized Wednesday at a natural gas field in Algeria.

At press time, conflicting media reports had been emerging from the region. Some claimed that the hostages have been freed; others, that several hostages have been killed.

The mass kidnapping at a BP (formerly British Petroleum) gas site near the Libyan border, which may very well have been accomplished with U.S.-supplied weapons left over from the ouster of the late Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, seems to be a spillover from a failed French drive to remove Islamist militants from nearby Mali.

According to the Wall Street Journal, France’s target in Mali was Algeria-based Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, which has “claimed responsibility for the Algeria kidnappings, calling it retaliation.”

The northern portion of Mali is important to the Islamofascists because it is one of their recently acquired strongholds that serves as a showcase for the reimposition of Shariah law in the region. It is a beachhead for Islamist world revolution.

Al-Qaeda forces, working with Qaddafi’s former mercenaries, previously took over northern Mali, an area about the size of Texas. Africa, writes FrontPage Magazine’s Daniel Greenfield, is now “to Islamic Colonialism in the 21st Century what it was to European Colonialism in the 19th Century.”

The kidnapping episode also undercuts President Obama’s spurious claim that al-Qaeda is somehow on the run and virtually irrelevant thanks to his policies. During the past election cycle Obama bragged over and over that “al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead.” That path now seems to be long and winding.

Each passing day it becomes increasingly clear that the Obama administration, which spends much of its time apologizing for past U.S. policies, isn’t serious about combating Islamism. The fact that the administration itself is a hotbed of Islamist activity, according to various investigative reports, no doubt has something to do with it.

With his laissez-faire approach to fighting Islamism, Obama is beginning to make President Jimmy Carter, reviled by many American conservatives, look like a serious statesman. Carter, more so than Obama, at least appeared at times to have some kind of a plan for dealing with problems in the Muslim world when he occupied the White House.

Under Obama, the United States is now benched in a self-imposed penalty box, playing no particular role in halting al-Qaeda’s progress in dangerous parts of the world. U.S.-supplied war material from Obama’s feel-good adventure in Libya may very well be fueling the advance of America’s terrorist enemies in Africa.

While the 44th president has focused on photo opportunities, bowing before dictators, coverups, vacations, and golf, Islamism has been on the march, asserting itself throughout the Ummah. Slavery, long extinct in the civilized world, is being reestablished and cruel Shariah law ruthlessly enforced.

Fundamentalist Muslim regimes are taking over country after country across North Africa and the Middle East. Thieves’ hands are being chopped off in Mali; accused spies crucified in Yemen. Rape victims are publicly flogged in the Maldives and elsewhere for “fornication,” while gays and dissidents of all stripes continue to be put to death by the murderous mullahs of Iran. In Sudan, Nigeria, and Ethiopia fanatical adherents of the so-called religion of peace persecute and slaughter Christians and church leaders.

Open Doors, an international Christian charity, estimated in a recent report that 100 million Christians are persecuted worldwide. Of the 50 worst-offending countries it tracks, only one is outside Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Egypt, for decades a key U.S. ally, is now in the hands of President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood thanks to Obama’s meddling. The Arab Republic is suddenly threatening Israel, a nation with which it has had a Carter-engineered peace treaty since 1979.

The Obama-backed Morsi calls Jews “bloodsuckers” and “the descendants of apes and pigs.” Egyptians should “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews,” Morsi rants. He is leading the way as Egypt transforms itself into another Iran after Obama abandoned the now-deposed president Hosni Mubarak.

Of course Morsi is just one Islamist tyrant in what promises to be a long series of theocratic totalitarians that President Obama has unleashed on the world.

Chances are many more will follow.

Matthew Vadum Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative reporter and the author of the recently published book, “Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.”

See Saul Alinsky’s 24 Rules for Radicals