The French liberation of Gao has given us look into life under Islam. The system that the Jihadis had implemented in Mali looks a good deal like the same Islamic colonialism that scarred Africa and produced the slave trade.
There was a tier with black Malians on the bottom and lighter skinned Arab and Pakistani Jihadists on top.
Over the last two days, I’ve had something of a tour of the justice system the Mujao, which is Movements for Jihad and Unity, installed in Gao, Mali, during their nine months of rule. They took over what used to be the mayor’s office and turned it into the “justice” centre.
Two men, accused of homosexuality, who were supposed to be executed last Friday, showed me the room they were taken to be tried and beaten. On the floor I found a file with lists of names – these were the women who had been whipped for failing to wear the veil, and the men punished for smoking.
A large airless room in the back of the compound became the Sharia court. Here they and other prisoners were brought to sit in front of two or three Islamic judges who they call marabouts.
They said that the judges were mainly Pakistanis and some Tunisians and the whole proceedings were overseen by the Moroccan jihadi in charge of the town, known as Abdel Karim
As the judges passed sentence, a crowd of jihadi supporters behind them watched. Some of the women were flogged right there in the court house. A black patch in front marks the place where cigarettes were ground into the sand and smokers whipped. A few yards away is the stadium where the residents of Gao once watched football and were now forced to come to watch amputations.
One of the most disturbing things I’ve learnt is that those condemned to these harsh punishments were all black Malians – Sonrai, Peul, Bamba, and Della, traditionally the slaves of the Tuareg. The jihadis were a mixture of Malian Arabs and Tuaregs as well as many foreign jihadis.
“They would never do this to one of their own,” said Issa.
The Islamic Jihad isn’t just about religion, it’s also about race. It’s an imperialistic movement by Arab-speaking peoples who built an empire around the world, exporting their language, culture and religion as supremacism. Their current Jihad, whether in Africa or in Europe, is more of the same.
The Jihad divides by ethnicity and group, even within Africa. The Tuaregs were traditional slave owners and slave ownership is clearly one of the privileges that they still desire.