Benjamin F. Soares

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In the past week, Islamists have destroyed and desecrated the tombs of Muslim saints in the fabled town of Timbuktu in northern Mali, recalling the Taliban’s 2001 destruction of two giant Buddhas in Bamiyan, Afghanistan.

In defiance of the West and many local Muslims, Islamists in northern Mali are prohibiting people from worshiping at tombs and erecting structures on graves. Although both practices are widespread throughout the Muslim world, religious extremists consider them un-Islamic and are seeking to stamp them out.

Long a darling of Western donors and hailed as one of the few democracies in the Muslim world, the poor, landlocked country of Mali has descended into chaos since low-ranking military officers seized power from President Amadou Toumani Touré in March, just weeks before scheduled elections.…  Seguir leyendo »