Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Idolatry and Destruction

The Mosque / University of timbuktu
The name even sounds amazing, doesn't it.  Timbuktu is an ancient city.  It is where the great river of Western African (the Niger) turns south, after flowing north towards the Sahara.  In fact, for years, European Explorers didn't know the Niger was one river.  They knew of the Eastern Niger, that flowed into the Atlantic from Nigerian Forests.  And they knew of the Western Great River that "disappeared" into the desert. it wasn't until the entire length was explored, that ancient Timbuktu was found and the bend in the river defined.
Timbuktu is also a World Heritage site for the Sankore Mosque / Sankore University.  It was the center of Islamic learning from 1300 to 1700.  Primarily because it was at the cross roads of trading routes and the center of the Mali Empire.
The Sankore Mosque / University - centerpiece of the city, is built of earth, and must be repaired yearly - and has been for 600 years.  Timbuktu also has 300 mausoleums and vast libraries.  Some of the local Muslim customs concern the mausoleums of the saints, as well as the 2 ancient doors of the Mosque which "shall only open at the end of time".
But, if you are a jihadist who believes ONLY in your version of Islam, Mausoleums of Saints, even Muslim Saints, is Idolatry.  And they must be destroyed.  As well as the ancient gates.

Destroying a Mausoleum
I always wanted to visit Timbuktu.  Some place so holy, dedicated to God and Learning had to be good, I thought.  It is now being destroyed.  I'm not calling for anything - no weapons, no intervention.  
Gates closed until the end of time

Gates Destroyed
But we should all note that Jihadists don't speak for the majority of followers of Islam.  The local people, all Muslim, are just as much a victims as anyone else.  These Jihadists have destroyed their churches, their economy and their way of life.  It is sad I can't go to Timbuktu.  It is sadder that these people can never leave.

500 year old manuscripts of the University showing knowledge of Astronomy & Mathmatics

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