“As far as Mali is concerned, Islam is a tolerant religion and the proof is here in Timbuktu,” said the city’s mayor, Aly Ould Sidi. “We have all religions. We have Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals. Between us, the Muslims, and other religions, there is no problem. Islam tells us to respect all monotheistic religions.”
But there are warning signs in this new democracy:
Democracy also guarantees freedom of religion, though, and new types of Islam are challenging the traditional faith. In the past three years, ultraconservative Wahhabis from Saudi Arabia have opened 16 mosques in Timbuktu, a development termed disturbing by the city’s mayor, Aly Ould Sidi.
“All these people who are Wahhabi are not citizens of Timbuktu. They come from outside,” he said. “Their presence here has raised a kind of conflict with the people.”
In the last 3 years. Very troubling. Saudia Arabia’s export of Islamic hatred is a large part of the problem.
By the way, this is also an interesting quote:
Last year the GSPC [a Islamist group advocating overthrow of Algeria’s secular government] kidnapped 32 European tourists, mostly Germans, in Algeria and brought some of them across the desert into Mali. Germany reportedly paid a $6 million ransom for their release, vastly enriching the group’s budget for arms and munitions.
I guess that’s how Germany deals with its problems.