Friday, 10 August 2012
Islamic Violence and Pressure is Spreading into Burkina Faso

Same story, different area. From the NYTimes:

DAKAR, Senegal — A rare diplomatic opening inside Islamist-held northern Mali was tried on Tuesday by the foreign minister of neighboring Burkina Faso — an attempt to avert a war that some Western officials say is now nearly inevitable.

The foreign minister, Djibril Bassolé, met in the town of Kidal with a leading warlord, Iyad ag Ghali, who directs the Islamist Ansar Dine movement, which is allied with Al Qaeda’s regional franchise. Diplomats and others consider him a central figure in the jihadists’ attempt to impose a harsh version of Shariah law in Mali’s vast north — an initiative that has helped push nearly 400,000 people from the region.

Mali’s northern area, much of it desert, has been virtually closed to outsiders since its seizure from the faltering Malian Army, itself weakened from a coup d’état in the capital by a coalition of Islamist and nomadic forces in late March. The Islamists, some from other countries, have since pushed the nomadic Tuareg out, and an iron cloak of Shariah law that includes public beatings, whippings and even a deadly stoning has descended on a region previously characterized by moderate religious practices.

See my interview with Thomas Wheelock, a collector of art from the region to get an idea of what will be lost under Islam.

Posted on 08/10/2012 9:30 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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