A hardline religious group occupying northern Mali has destroyed 15th-century mausoleums of Sufi Muslim saints in Timbuktu and have threatened to demolish the remaining 13 UNESCO world heritage sites in the fabled city, witnesses have said. The attack by Ansar Dine group on Friday came just four days after UNESCO placed Timbuktu on its list of heritage sites in danger after the seizure of its northern two-thirds in April by rebels. “They have already completely destroyed the mausoleum of Sidi Mahmoud (Ben Amar) and two others. They said they would continue all day and destroy all 16,” Yeya Tandina, a local Malian journalist, said by telephone. “They are armed and have surrounded the sites with pick-up trucks. The population is just looking on helplessly,” he said, adding that the Islamists were currently taking pick-axes to the mausoleum of Sidi El Mokhtar, another cherished local saint. “It looks as if it is a direct reaction to the UNESCO decision,” Timbuktu deputy Sandy Haidara said by telephone, confirming the attacks.
Remember when the Taliban destroyed ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan? The destruction of the mausoleums in Timbuktu is an expression of the same form of savagery, right out of the Middle Ages.
The Islamist Ansar Dine group backs strict sharia, Islamic law, and considers the shrines of the local Sufi version of Islam idolatrous. “Ansar Dine will today destroy every mausoleum in the city. All of them, without exception,” Sanda Ould Boumama, the group’s spokesman, told AFP news agency through an interpreter from the city. “God is unique. All of this is haram (or forbidden in Islam). We are all Muslims. UNESCO is what?” he said, declaring that Ansar Dine was acting “in the name of God”.
And what are the toothless tenderfoot “defenders” of tolerance going to do about this?
The UN cultural agency UNESCO on Saturday deplored the “tragic” destruction called for the rampage to stop. “This is tragic news for us all,” UNESCO executive committee chair Alissandra Cummins said in a statement issued to the AFP news agency. “I appeal to all those engaged in the conflict in Timbuktu to exercise their responsibility.”
That will help a lot. Especially since the Ansar Dine considers it their very responsibility to destroy the mausoleums… Adding insult to the tragedy is the fact that these islamists are trying to destroy one of the few, early contributions to civilization that the Muslim faith has made:
Beyond its historic mosques, the World Heritage site of Timbuktu, once a cradle of Islamic learning, has 16 cemeteries and mausolea, according to the UNESCO website. Sometimes called the city of 333 saints, Timbuktu is also home to nearly 100,000 ancient manuscripts, some dating back to the 12th century, preserved in family homes and private libraries under the care of religious scholars. At its height in the 1500s, the city, a Niger River port at the edge of the Sahara 1,000km north of Bamako, was the key intersection for salt traders travelling from the north and gold traders from the south.
So while islamists are trying to eradicate the connection between Islam and the modern world, the world’s leftist intellectuals issue a strongly worded statement about “exercising responsibility.” Complete nonsense, of course. The advancement of such madness as we are witnessing in /Timbuktu will go on so long as our leftist academics and political pundits refuse to acknowledge the existence of pure evil. But instead of realizing what the world actually looks like, the bureaucrats in the UNESCO and other tax-paid, leftist outfits can spend their days sitting around in air-conditioned offices, and go to their upscale dinners, eat their French cuisine and drink their even more French wine and feel that by asking “those engaged in the conflict in Timbuktu to exercise their responsibility” they have made a world of difference in stopping the advancement of senseless tyranny.
Once they have eradicated the civilization heritage in Timbuktu, what’s next?