Islamic Militants Destroy Historic Sites In Timbuktu

Islamic militants destroyed two of the historic tombs at the famous 14th century Djingareyber mosque in Timbuktu this week. The militants from the Ansar Dine group say the centuries-old shrines of the local Sufi version of Islam are idolatrous. In the meantime, some Egyptian Muslim extremists are following the victory by the Muslim Brotherhood with demands that the pyramids be destroyed for the same reason. Obviously these are extreme groups within the Muslim community. This later story is based on accounts coming from various sites but appear based on the same claimed translation of sites, though some have called it a hoax.


The attack in Timbuktu was well planned — using an armored four-wheel drive truck and keeping locals at bay by firing guns in the area while the tombs were destroyed. It is reminiscent of the Taliban in Afghanistan destroying the magnificent Buddhas of Bamiyan – a true crime against humanity and the world’s cultural sites. For these extremists, it is not enough to disagree with a culture, you must destroy its images and history to please Allah.

The Timbuktu site is designated a world historic and religious landmark by UNESCO. The Ansar Dine group however had designated it idolatrous. They have already destroyed at least eight of 16 listed mausoleums in the city as well as a number of tombs and a sacred door at Sidi Yahya mosque.

In the meantime, some Muslims in Egypt allegedly have bigger hopes for destruction. According to reports in the Arabic media, prominent Muslim clerics have called for the demolition of Egypt’s Great Pyramids as “symbols of paganism.” Bahrain’s “Sheikh of Sunni Sheikhs” and President of National Unity, is quoted as calling on Egypt’s new president, Muhammad Morsi, to “destroy the Pyramids and accomplish what the Sahabi Amr bin al-As could not.” This refers to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s companion, Amr bin al-As, who is believed to have conquered Egypt in 641 and proceeded to destroy Egyptian antiquities as relics of infidelity, including burning ancient books of the great Library of Alexandria as not conforming to the Koran.

Last year, the Salafi party was reported as suggesting the dumping tons of wax on the pyramids to turn them into misshapen blobs — burying their offense to Islam.

Even if the latest account is true, it is clear that most Muslims share the same shock and disgust with these actions and proposals. It is simply remarkable how some religious people believe wanton destruction of culture and history is necessary to please the Almighty. It is not enough to follow your own beliefs but to prevent others from even viewing opposing images. Islam is entering a key period where these voices of intolerance must be met with more moderate and educated Muslim voices. I can only imagine the fear and anger of Muslim academics who are watching these forces of ignorance destroy tombs and artifacts that trace the rich history of their countries and culture.

These crimes also show the impact of insular religious training and indoctrination. These are obviously men who have been given little exposure to anything other than extremist Islamic training in Madrassas and mosques. They are the product of years of reinforced dogma and extremist sermons that teach them to fear and hate outside groups and non-believers. The most unsettling thing is not to see the destruction of these historic sites but the joy and euphoria of those who destroy them.

Of course for the extremist clerics, the destruction of these sites old the benefit of diminishing the interest of Western tourists in visiting countries like Egypt. The greatest threat to their existence is exposure to alternative cultures and viewpoints. An isolated and improverished country is ideal for controlling a population.

25 thoughts on “Islamic Militants Destroy Historic Sites In Timbuktu

  1. I am constantly amazed at the similarities between or among fundamentalists around the world compared to our holier-than-thou fundies here in the U.S.eh?

  2. If you subscribe to Direct Tv you will get an abundance of channels that put these Donald Trump or Willard Romney types on the screen who try to hustle you for a dollar and get you to pray to Jesus. One guys last name is Dollar. If we have this many dumb idiots in America who watch this crap religiously then of course the lamer parts of the world are going to have religious idjets too. Dont let your teenager date a religious idjit. When in the presence of a religious idjit, do not tolerate their intolerance when they go off on the rant. Dont trust anyone wearing a black top and a white collar. That is the defintion of white collar crime.

  3. Those clowns are weak.

    The fundies here in the U.S.eh? have enormous political clout, especially in the House of Representatives, where the mantra is “Global Warming Induced Climate Change Is A Hoax“.

    Meanwhile, the “evil atheist scientists” are teaching that the weather is likely to change the shape of a lot of things, including ancient remains still on the surface:

    “Every weather event that happens now takes place in the context of a changing global environment,” Deputy NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan said in a statement. “This annual report provides scientists and citizens alike with an analysis of what has happened so we can all prepare for what is to come.”

    (HuffPo). Ignorance is on the rise, the hot dark age, the Hell on Earth age is here, called by other names:

    How much have we evolved since this date in 2009 when the first post of this series was published?

    Maybe our heads and brains are a different shape/size, continuing what they have been doing for a century or so?

    Maybe our government is giving up the bully ideology and we are becoming a kinder and gentler nation?

    Maybe we don’t make extinct 200 species a day anymore, or ~73,000 species extinct per year?

    Maybe this isn’t the Sixth Mass Extinction, caused by The Anthropocene Epoch anymore?

    Maybe we don’t make the Earth hotter at the equivalency of 400,000 Hiroshima type nuclear bombs per day anymore?

    (The Evolution of Cosmic Adults). Not a chance, with the rise of ignorance comes the age of terror as panic begins to inform official policy.

  4. “This refers to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s companion, Amr bin al-As, who is believed to have conquered Egypt in 641 and proceeded to destroy Egyptian antiquities as relics of infidelity, including burning ancient books of the great Library of Alexandria as not conforming to the Koran.”

    *************************

    Ah, the religion of peace again! We might want to consider taking these people at their word that they want to destroy secular civilization and impose a theocracy. Then again we can wring our hands, do nothing, and join the Neville Chamberlain club.

  5. mespo727272 1, July 11, 2012 at 8:37 am

    … we can wring our hands, do nothing, and join the Neville Chamberlain club.
    ======================================
    Its largest outpost “is a bully religion church near you”, where they preach the gospel of peace through war.

  6. Here is something to give one pause. If these people (the Islamic militants) ever came to power in a big way, their agenda is to destroy everything they do not deem Islamic enough. That means every statue, monument, museum, piece of art, or building that does not conform to their understanding of Islam. The fact they destroyed the Library of Alexandria should have put the world on notice.

    Imagine an America without a Statue of Liberty, St. Louis Arch, Mt Rushmore or Stone Mountain, GA. Not to mention the Library of Congress and practically every other library in the country as well as museums.

    While the Christian fundies are pretty bad in their own way, I have not heard any of them proposing anything much worse than trying to keep mosques from being built. However, we might throw in those who have suggested hydrogen bombing Mecca and Messina as some who ought to be watched closely.

  7. US military destroyed many of the ancient cultural sites in Iraq and allowed the museum to be sacked. Ignorance? Negligence? Deliberate? does it matter?

  8. Otteray Scribe 1, July 11, 2012 at 10:03 am


    The fact they destroyed the Library of Alexandria should have put the world on notice.
    =================================
    Other sources say that Julius Caesar ~600 years previous to that time accidentally burned it:

    The library was conceived and opened either during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter (323–283 BC) or during the reign of his son Ptolemy II (283–246 BC).

    Plutarch (AD 46–120) wrote that during his visit to Alexandria in 48 BC Julius Caesar accidentally burned the library down …

    (Wikipedia). Islam did not exist until some time after the Roman Empire went down circa 400 A.D.

  9. bettykath 1, July 11, 2012 at 10:12 am

    US military destroyed many of the ancient cultural sites in Iraq and allowed the museum to be sacked. Ignorance? Negligence? Deliberate? does it matter?
    ==========================
    Well said.

  10. OH! the mythology:

    … King Amanullah Khan, who ruled from 1919 to 1929 and made some of the more noteworthy changes in an attempt to unify as well as modernize the country.

    King Amanullah, along with other rulers following him, promoted freedom for women in the public sphere in order to lessen the control that patriarchal families had over women. King Amanullah stressed the importance for young girls and women to receive an education. Along with encouraging families to send their daughters to school, he promoted the unveiling of women and persuaded them to adopt a more western style of dress. In 1921, he created a law that abolished forced marriage, child marriage, bride price, and put restrictions on polygamy, a common practice among households in Afghanistan.

    (Wikipedia). Noam Chomsky ties in by pointing out that women in Afghanistan could vote prior to the time women could vote in the U.S.eh?

    Now that foreigners have come in and given Afghans their freedom, “everything is fine”.

  11. I cannot find any arabic references in the articles. what is this christian post site and what is its agenda? I also cannot find any arabic writing mentioning the destruction of the pyramids so far… loonies exist everywhere and thus some group of weirdos making this claim is not unusual; however, muslims are prohibited from worshipping idols, they are instead asked to worship the one monotheistic god that cannot be seen, touched or heard etc… this is the context of the non idol worshipping rule… muslims are not asked to destroy ancient artifacts and most certainly not any place of worship for any religion specifically a mosque…

    without real analysis behind the described/reported incidents, they are nothing more than tabloids and they certainly are not a sign of things to come… if this trend is in fact becoming a threat, I would expect to find it in arabic literature online…

    if muslims did in fact feel this way about the pyramids then why did they start this threat now and not 100, 200 or 300 years ago? why is this threat conveniently surfacing with the election of a muslim brotherhood in egypt?

  12. >why is this threat conveniently surfacing with the election of a muslim brotherhood in egypt?<

    Ruba, I think you answered your own question.

  13. Perhaps indirectly, the American fundies are getting pretty close to advocating the closing of libraries. They are among the first to face closure when cities have to reduce services in a budget crunch.

  14. Way back in 1998, Library of Congress started having security guards go around and roust homeless people to make sure they weren’t in there reading. I saw the future…

  15. They did not destroy the Library of Alexandria, what was said in the earlier post was that they destroyed some books that had come from it. No offense but learn some basic history. It is accepted as historical fact that the Library of Alexandria was destroyed when the Romans attacked Egypt at the behest of the not-yet-Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, to oust Mark Antony and his bride Cleopatra. It happened over six centuries earlier.

  16. Damn, yes, my bad. It was during the sacking by Julius Caesar’s troops after the death of Pompey.
    If I’m going to suggest someone else learn some basic history, I should at least get it right myself. /facepalm

  17. Kraaken, seriously dude/dudette [no comments]

    in any case, the call for the pyramid destruction was deemed a hoax, as far as the other incidents, well the muslim world suffers from the action of morons like everywhere else in the world…

    http://www.rt.com/news/egypt-destroy-pyramids-islamists-007/

    ‘Calls from a Bahraini Sunni cleric to destroy Egypt’s Great Pyramids have been revealed as a hoax.”

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