Islamic extremism growing in northern Mali as Sharia gains strength

Islamic supremacists have been in control of northern Mali for more than six months. They have initiated Sharia law and it is an prime example of what happens when Islamists hold power.

CHARLOTTEOctober 19, 2012 – While the eyes of the world are focused on the Middle East, Islamic supremacists have set up an autonomous nation in northern Mali.  From this safehaven, they are planning and launching other attacks.  Within the enclave, they are becoming increasingly barbaric.

Though it is impossible to police the entire world, watching northern Mali is important, as it has major significance in terms of global terrorism.

First, the growing brutality in the region refutes the claim that al-Qaeda is no longer a threat since the demise of Osama bin Laden. Regardless of whether al-Qaeda is dead or has reinvented itself is of little consequence because Islamic terrorism is still very much alive, active and growing.

Next, non-Muslims need to sit up and take notice of what the “religion of peace” is doing to the citizens of northern Mali. Islamic control in that part of the world is a microcosm of what to expect if Muslim extremists ever gain the upper hand.

According to a student named Oumar who arrived in the capital Bamako on Wednesday, “They are really getting more and more barbaric. They kill, they rape, and no one does anything to stop them.”

Relating his story to Serge Daniel of IOL News, Oumar added, “They forced my sister into marriage, then a month later her husband divorced her. These barbarians get married to have a good time and when they’re done, they throw the woman away.”

Mali has been besieged by chaos since the end of March when a military coup overthrew the democratic government of President Amadou Toumani Toure. In the ensuing chaos, Tuareg rebels backed by Islamic fighters seized the northern part of the country, an area larger than the country of France.  Shortly after the Tuareg-Islamic axis took control, the Islamist groups expellec the ethnic Tuaregs and invited jihadist fighters into the region to help solidify their control. 

The two main Islamic groups are Ansare Dine, an affiliate of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, andthe Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).  

The two groups imposed Sharia law more than six months ago. As a result, unveiled women have been arrested, a teenage girl was publicly flogged with 60 lashes for talking to men, thieves have had limbs amputated and one unmarried couple was stoned to death.

Despite claims of being true believers in Sharia, many of the infiltrators themselves smoke, drink and use drugs.

Bus service to the ancient city of Timbuktu, a renowned center of Islamic learning, has stopped. The Islamists have destroyed many ancient tombs of Muslim saints which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, because the strict Islamists say the tombs are idoltorous.

The Islamists are extremely well armed and are attracking the support of even more jihadists from across the continent.  Ansar Dine’s leaders recently told AP their plan is to use northern Mali as a base for other operations, which former members say include attacks on US and European targets.  In July, Omar Ould Hamaha, a military commander of Ansar Dine, threatened to attack American and European targets and to “conquer the whole world.”  

Residents also told AP that Islamists have established two training camps for new recruits in Gao, and they parked broken-down vehicles on the runways to prevent “enemy” planes from landing there. A tragic example of their power is the attacks on the US Consulate in Benghazi, which US Secretary of State Clinton suggested originated from the Islamists in Mali. 

Several West African nations are preparing for an international military intervention to evict the marauding Islamists, but so far they have failed to take action.  France supports intervention as do regional countries, but military action is complicated by the confusing post-coup situation in the capital.

Even if regional forcess succeed in eliminating the threat in northern Mali, however, the world needs to be aware of the implementation of Sharia that occurs when Muslim extremists take control of a region.

The events in Mali should alert the entire world that the war on terrorism is a long-term battle that will continue for decades and beyond. Killing a hundred Osama bin Ladens and destroying a thousand al-Qaedas will not eradicate the problem.

We must focus on all areas where terrorism thrives, not just the regions that are burning at the moment. Rather than putting out brushfires wherever and whenever they arise, the global community must once and for all decide that it wants to extinguish the entire forest that is ablaze.

That cannot be accomplished until we recognize the evils of Islamic supremacy and cease our apologies for them and to them.

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in Charlotte, NC. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club, which creates, and escorts customized tours to Switzerland, France and Italy for groups of 12 or more. Inquiries for groups can be made at Taylored Media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others. As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 70 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries. He also played professional baseball for four years and was a sportscaster for 14 years at WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte.

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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