While theft may result in the loss of several appendages, it’s a markedly better punishment than for those accused of having children out of wedlock, as was the case of a young couple who was stoned to death in July by members of Ansar Dine in the Malian town of Aguelhok near the Algerian border.
The Islamists brought the young man and woman into the center of town and forced them into holes about four feet deep, with their heads protruding, and then stoned them to death before a silent crowd of 300 people from the village who were forced to watch the barbaric execution.
According to an eyewitness, “They put them into the holes, and then they started throwing big rocks, until they were dead. It was horrible. It was inhuman. They killed them like they were animals.”
As hard as it may be to believe, however, it has been reported that the Islamists were in the beginning days of their takeover in northern Mali actually “lenient” in their treatment of women, preferring to direct most of their judicial wrath at men.
Apparently, however, that strategy has failed to ensure full Sharia compliance among the Malian populace, so the Islamists are now specifically targeting women.
For example, in the city of Timbuktu, many women were wearing light veils that covered part of their hair, but the cloth, often white, was transparent, a transgression so severe that Ansar Dine, who controls the city, began demanding women wear black and much larger veils to cover their entire heads.
The new dress code, however, has had some unfortunate effects, especially for one pregnant woman who was going into labor. Arriving at the hospital wearing an outlawed white veil, the women was ordered by the Islamists to go home and change, a task she couldn’t complete and she ended up giving birth on the sidewalk outside the hospital.
In addition to changing women’s head apparel, the Islamists, outraged at the form-fitting attire worn by young women, also banned tight clothes, requiring that women wear on top of their regular clothes, “toungous,” large flowing dresses traditionally worn in the African Sahel.
While women in Timbuktu who fail to abide by the Islamic dress code are currently being beaten with sticks by Islamist police, Ansar Dine has announced that it will ratchet up the penalty for any woman who disobeys their new rules by having their ears cut off before sending them to a new, all-female prison.
Unfortunately for the citizens of Timbuktu, Ansar Dine’s heavy Islamist footprint has already been deeply felt, as it has systematically destroyed the city’s numerous religious shrines, mausoleums, and cemeteries, sites which hold significant cultural, historical and religious importance to the Malian people.
As one Timbuktu woman said, “It only took them about an hour and a half to break apart our heritage, our culture.”
Yet, sadly, for the people of northern Mali, it’s a cultural heritage that Ansar Dine and its Islamist and al-Qaeda allies are working feverishly and lethally to keep from ever being resurrected.
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