Friday, February 22, 2013

Woman in Timbuktu Punished for Forbidden Love

TIMBUKTU, Mali (AP) — The love story in this fabled desert outpost began over the phone, when he dialed the wrong number. It nearly ended with the couple’s death at the hands of Islamic extremists who considered their romance “haram” — forbidden.
What happened in between is a study in how al-Qaida-linked militants terrorized a population, whipping women and girls in northern Mali almost every day for not adhering to their interpretation of the strict moral code known as Shariah. It is also a testament to the violent clash between the brutal, unyielding Islam of the invaders and the moderate version of the religion that has long prevailed in Timbuktu, once a center for Islamic learning.
Salaka Djicke is a round-faced, big-boned girl with the wide thighs still fashionable in the desert, an unforgiving terrain that leaves many women without curves. Until the Islamists came and upended her world, the 24-year-old lived a relatively free life.
The rest of the story

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