Jihadists’ Fierce Justice Drives Thousands to Flee Mali


The vast desert expanse of northern Mali has become a magnet for Islamic extremists who have tightened their grip on Timbuktu and other far-flung towns, imposing a strict form of justice that is prompting tens of thousands of people to flee what some are likening to an African Afghanistan.

Rattled recent arrivals at a 92,000-person makeshift camp here at Mauritania’s remote eastern edge describe an influx of jihadists — some homegrown and others possibly from afar — intent on imposing an Islam of lash and gun on Malian Muslims who have long coexisted with Western tourists in the fabled town of Timbuktu.

The conditions here in Mbera are grim, with many of the Malians sick, hungry and bewildered. But that is better, refugees said in interviews Tuesday, than the grueling life turned upside-down that an unexpected Islamist military triumph inflicted on their lives in a vast region in the heart of West Africa.

Refugees from such places as Timbuktu, Goundam, Gao and Kidal described witnessing repeated whippings, beatings and other punishments in the streets, ostensibly for having violated strict Islamic law, and some of those who fled said they had been subjected to this harsh justice themselves.

“They said: ‘You are thieves. Why are you out walking at this hour?’ ” Mohamed ag el-Hadj, a 27-year-old former soldier in the Malian Army recalled. He and a friend out for a stroll at 7 in the evening found themselves surrounded by two carloads of well-armed men. The men tied the friends’ arms behind their backs, bound them to a tree and forced them to kneel, bending forward, for the evening. In the morning, “everything was swollen.”

“It was scary,” Mr. Hadj recalled. “They insulted me, called me a savage, an unbeliever.”

Written By: Adam Nossiter
continue to source article at nytimes.com


  1. This is only the beginning. As a long term Middle East involved Englishman I can honestly say we have a lot more of this to come. Islam has only just entered the ‘Inquisition’ years. The young people in the ‘Arab Spring’ want democracy. The old guard, free from dictators want Islamisation. It won’t be pretty and it will grind on for decades. In Syria, as soon as Assad goes the clerics will crawl from the shadows and take control. When all the institutions fall apart (most destroyed by the dictators to avoid a challenge to them) the only thing left in running order are the clerics, as proved in Egypt. In the book they have the control of law and morality at hand a ready to proscribe. On top of this we have regional and tribal conflict and soon to come, water wars. It isn’t a good prognosis for the area. My heart bleeds but I’m glad I left when I did.

  2. Islam is utterly incompatible with democratic values. Moderate Islam is the Trojan Horse and accommodationism will be as successful as the policy of negotiating with Hitler. 
    Too many Neville Chamberlains in politics.

  3. Another islamic hell-hole in creation.

    And I love it how the press calls them islamic extremists when they just follow what is written in their fundamental documents. You either ignore the bulk of the material that makes one eligible to be labeled a muslim or you are a muslim aka islamic extremist. Just like with christianity.

    Why aren’t journalists capable of comprehending this?

  4. BTW, anyone interested in knowing why the world is like it is in the last 60 years copypaste this into youtube search and click on the first result:

    “The Power of Nightmares – 1of3 -“

    Wouldn’t it be nice if they taught that at elementary schools, high-schools and universities. It kinda brings it all in the perspective of how humans are just semi-rational apes and staunch adherents to principle of less work..

  5. This (and many other examples worldwide) is a far cry from the “Islam-is-whatever-you-want-it-to-be” picture we get from typical Muslim-Westerner debates.

  6. This is not surprising, given that the first western explorers to visit Timbuktu were killed when they didn’t want to convert to Islam.

  7. This vicious cycle wil continue if these people remain myopic to the very fact that Islam itself keeps them shackled to backwardness and irrationality no matter how much or for what cause they fight among themselves.

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