Again: Islamists Destroy Monuments, This Time in Timbuktu

Adama Diarra, Christian Science Monitor, July 1, 2012

Al Qaeda-linked Mali Islamists armed with Kalashnikovs and pick-axes destroyed centuries-old mausoleums of saints in the UNESCO-listed city of Timbuktu on Saturday in front of shocked locals, witnesses said.

The Islamist Ansar Dine group backs strict sharia, Islamic law, and considers the shrines of the local Sufi version of Islam to be idolatrous. Sufi shrines have also been attacked by hardline Salafists in Egypt and Libyain the past year.

The attack came just days after UNESCO placed Timbuktu on its list of heritage sites in danger and will recall the 2001 dynamiting by the Taliban of two 6th-century statues of Buddha carved into a cliff in Bamiyan in central Afghanistan.

One of the Buddha statues, before and after its destruction.

“They are armed and have surrounded the sites with pick-up trucks. The population is just looking on helplessly,” local journalist Yeya Tandina said by telephone.

Tandina and other witnesses said Ansar Dine had already destroyed the mausoleums of three local saints—Sidi Mahmoud, Sidi El Mokhtar, and Alfa Moya—and at least seven tombs.

“The mausoleum doesn’t exist any more and the cemetery is as bare as a soccer pitch,” local teacher Abdoulaye Boulahi said of the Mahmoud burial place.

“There’s about 30 of them breaking everything up with pick-axes and hoes. They’ve put their Kalashnikovs down by their side. These are shocking scenes for the people in Timbuktu,” said Boulahi.


Locals said the attackers had threatened to destroy all of the 16 main mausolem sites by the end of the day. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova called for an immediate halt.

“There is no justification for such wanton destruction and I call on all parties engaged in the conflict to stop these terrible and irreversible acts,” she said in a statement. The sites date from Timbuktu’s Golden Age in the 16th century.


UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee said this week it had accepted the request of the Malian government to place Timbuktu on its list of endangered heritage sites.



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  • WmarkW

    Muslims destroying pre-Islamic cultural icons is not new.
    The Great Sphinx had a nose for four thousand years, until a  Sufi Muslim broke it off in the 15th century.

    • mikejones91

      What religion did the Sphinx builders follow?

  • JackKrak

    If only muslims could think about creating something sometime……

    • They do Jack…it’s called mayhem!

  • loyalwhitebriton

    This is the equivalent of us British Christians tearing down Stonehenge simply because it’s pagan. Unthinkable!
    Before the advent of Islam, Arabs were highly supersticious, treated their women like dirt, were fond of buggering young boys (and girls), and wreaked destruction wherever they went.
    Since the advent of Islam, Arabs same.

  • Church_of_Jed

    We admire the Moslems for their dedication at making a fool of George “a religion of peace” Bush.

  • anarchyst

    Another reason islam and western culture is incompatible. . . deport them all . . .

  • JohnEngelman

    According to a survey released 
    December 2, 2010 by the Pew Research Center 84 percent of Muslims in Egypt favor the death penalty for Muslims who leave Islam. In Jordan the percentage is 86 percent.
    Everything secular liberals hate about the religious right and the Bible Belt is far more true of Muslims and Islamic society, but secular liberals feel protective toward Muslims and think Israel should make concessions to the Palestinians. 

  • The__Bobster

    Arabs are infamous for painting the private parts of statues red …. at least they did that in California.

  • The destruction of ancient works of human endeavor is nothing less than a crime against humanity.  If this country had any guts anymore we would retaliate with such fury things of this nature would not happen.  As it is, they are defiling our WWI and WWII monuements and grave sites in Western Europe. And we have all but lost several American cities to sharia.  My birthplace, Dearborn, Mi., is but one example where typical American corruption goes hand in hand with muslim depravity.  There the cousin of Yasir Arafat once boasted that he was leader of an armed militia that could field as many as 30, 000 men under arms.

  • Southern__Hoosier

    Now that the  Muslim Brotherhood has taken over Egypt,  I wonder how long it will take them to turn the Great Pyramids into paving stones?

  • Southern__Hoosier

     The Muslims are so ignorant of there own history and culture, I’m surprised they haven’t destroyed Mecca and Medina 

  • Southern__Hoosier

     Somehow Muslim destroying their own history doesn’t bother me that much.

  • Whirlwinder

    It is not just Paris, but the entire European continent that will be defaced and oblirated by Islam. When they are through, there will be no memory left of western civilization. The sad part is that we are standing by doing nothing while Islam carries out this outrageous task. Civilizational suicide.

  • WhiteGuyInJapan

    I’m a history buff and destruction of historical landmarks is just appalling to me.  Even if it is not my culture or religion, I admire the historical significance and handiwork. 

    Then again, I come from a culture that separates church and state and created the field of archaeology.

    PS. I suppose  1500 years of first cousin marriages does not produce the sharpest minds.