> what the hell are they going to get by attacking a mall for god sakes!
To terrorize, an extreme form of intimidation.
Remember "Apocalypse Now" : "Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared."
The idea is to make people afraid of ever offending Islam. To be afraid of getting on an airplane, or shopping at the mall, or drawing a carton, or expressing an opinion. After a while, it because easier to submit to Islam than to live in constant fear.
And it works. It works like all hell. There are 57 Muslim nations, practically all taken by force. There are about 1.5 billion Muslims. No other ideology has grown so fast.