Mali’s Ansar Dine want to create Islamic State

Shrines topple and the innocent flea; as fearful citizens reject the oppression of extreme Islamic forces. On the surface it’s an obvious cause for revolt and another chance for rebel armies overthrow. But lingering beneath the depths of greed and oppression another heritage gasps for its long lost recognition.

Multi-national, multi-lingual Ansar Dine insurgents have been invading the cities of Gao, Kidal, Goundam and Timbuktu since last spring. It appears that Ansar Dine and similar groups are attempting to extend a fluctuating band of rebels hell-bent on spreading their anti-government beliefs throughout Northern Africa and potentially Europe. The new, underrated interruption in Mali offers a space for vagrant terrorists and professional insurgents to expand and collaborate while uniting behind a 7th century form of Islam known as Salafism.

The dismembering fingers of the Ansar Dine have cultivated seeds of hate that will grow in an excuse to spread nothing but intolerance and separation. Translated into “Defenders of the Faith,” Ansar Dine shields its face with an outdated code of ethics and morality as they persecute all subjective sinners.

The Washington Post references the story of a man who witnessed a couple buried up to their necks as insurgents pelted two innocent faces with stones. The New York Times recounts stories from refugees who witnessed repeated whippings, beatings and abstract punishments taking place on streets.

“Everything was swollen,” a 27-year-old former Malian Army solider recounted as he told the story of being stopped by two car loads of Ansar Dine insurgents. His punishment for possessing a pack of cigarettes was being tied to a tree, forced to kneel and endure beatings until the sun rose.

In a report from the AFP, hundreds of child soldiers have been adopted into roles of combatant minesweepers, scouts, spies, messengers, look-outs, cooks or sex slaves under the orders of the northern insurgents. With ties to the Taliban, those participating in Ansar Dine believe Muslims have subjected themselves to this unusual and harsh form of punishment.

In addition to multiple violations of human rights, witnesses say the Ansar Dine Islamists have ruthlessly defaced sacred tombs. Specifically by taking shovels and pickaxes to the shrine to Sidi Mahmoud, a Muslim scholar. A local Timbuktu politician told Reuters, “They attacked the grave, broke the doors and windows and wooden gates that protect it, they brought it outside and burnt it.”

The destruction of a shrine to a highly respected Muslim scholar is not the only representation of flagrant hostility. Following the Fall of Gao, when extremists embedded themselves even deeper in Northern Africa, previous modes of life were forcibly altered. Under their control, the Ahmed Library, the homes of numerous political, intellectual and spiritual scrolls are being guarded by Ansar Dine and not open to the public. Additionally, the newly reopened schools are separated by gender.

Despite such harsh oppression, citizens have armed themselves and developed a convicted Malian Army in southern parts of the state. They have created training camps and armed themselves with faulty machine guns according to the New York Times. Eager to overtake those who ousted the refugee army from their homeland, weary participants remain hopeful and assured.

”Our goal is to liberate the north, whatever the price,” said Ibrahim Issa Diallo, the military chief of the ”Sons of the Earth,” movement in a New York Times article. “We can’t abandon our relatives.”