Mali attack strikes chord with local Islamic activist

In another act of terror committed overseas. The hostage situation at a Mali hotel is over.

Dozens were killed as gunmen stormed the Radisson Blue, shouting "God is great" in Arabic. At least two of those attackers were killed during a raid by special forces.

In West Africa, a group of at least 10 Islamist extremists stormed a hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, throwing grenades, and carrying guns. They took 170 guests and staff hostage, killing at least 18. many of the hostages, including six Americans made it out safe, according to reports.

The Mali hostage situation struck a chord with a local Islamic leader Dawud Walid.

"I've gone to Mali and spoken twice at peace and tolerance conferences," said Walid,  the executive director of Michigan's Council on American-Islamic Relations. "The Malian people were extraordinary, very hospitable people despite it being one of the poorest countries on earth."

Walid has blogged during his trips about similarities he found between Bamako and Detroit.

"As far as there being a history of extremists in the country of Mali, this is something that is really a new phenomenon," he said.

It is not known for sure who is responsible for the attack, or why is happened, following other recent acts of terror around the world.

Walid believes a solution is not possible until more people try to understand the complexities behind the enemy extremist groups.

"What are the root causes for people being involved in terrorism?" he said. "What would make a person give up on their life and be willing to hurt others by taking their lives or injuring them. I think that's the bigger question that we as Americans need to look at."

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