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Timbuktu monuments destruction back in the news

On Tuesday, alleged Malian jihadi leader Ahmad Al-Faqi Al-Mahdi appeared at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for a hearing on whether he should be put on trial for destroying part of the North African country’s rich cultural heritage.

Al-Mahdi is accused of overseeing the destruction in 2012 of medieval mausoleums and the Sidi Yahia mosque, which formed part of Timbuktu’s World Heritage Site. Al-Mahdi is the first suspect in the ICC’s history to potentially face prosecution for attacks against cultural heritage as opposed to direct humanitarian reasons.

The reasoning for Al-Mahdi’s alleged acts of cultural destruction? Because the targets were places of Sufi veneration and worship, considered by Islamist extremists to be a blasphemous affront to their view of Islam. Other purges saw the destruction of books and manuscripts that define Timbuktu’s place in history as a focus for learning and scholarship.

Read entire article at Newsweek