We have another shocking act of cultural destruction by Muslim militants in Mali. As Islamist insurgents retreated from Timbuktu, they set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless historic manuscripts — some dating back to the thirteenth century. They also destroyed statues and temples in the name of Allah.
French troops joined the Malian army in liberating the town but found these amazing manuscripts in ashes. These works survived for centuries and had been hidden during prior wars to preserve the history of the area, including ancient works describing astronomy, poetry, music, medicine and women’s rights. The oldest dated from 1204. These included the golden era in Timbuktu — an explosion of intellectual work in the 14th and 15th century.
The Muslim militants also burned temples and statues in their intolerance for any work or writing not based on the Koran and their extreme religious views.
In addition to hanging their black flag with “God is Great” around the town, the militants flogged people in the square to show Islamic justice.