The French liberation of Gao has given us look into life under Islam. The system that the al-Qaeda and other Jihadis had implemented in Mali looks a good deal like the same Islamic colonialism that scarred Africa and produced the black African slave trade still being practiced by Arab Muslims.
Channel4News What was justice like under the jihadis in Mali? There was a tier with black Malians on the bottom and lighter skinned Arab and Pakistani Jihadists on top. In just 9 months of sharia rule, those condemned to these harsh punishments were ALL black Malians – Sonrai, Peul, Bamba, and Della, traditionally the slaves of the Tuareg. The jihadis were a mixture of Malian Arabs and Tuaregs as well as many foreign jihadis.
Two men, accused of homosexuality, who were supposed to be executed last Friday, showed me the room they were taken to be tried and beaten. On the floor I found a file with lists of names – these were the women who had been whipped for failing to wear the veil, and the men punished for smoking.
The stoning to death of an unwed couple, amputations, whippings for “illegitimate” couples and people who smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol have been among the harsh punishments meted out by the Islamists, who claim ties with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
A large airless room in the back of the compound became the Sharia court. Here, they and other prisoners were brought to sit in front of two or three Islamic judges who they call marabouts. They said that the judges were mainly Pakistanis and some Tunisians and the whole proceedings were overseen by the Moroccan jihadi in charge of the town, known as Abdel Karim. As the judges passed sentence, a crowd of jihadi supporters behind them watched. Some of the women were flogged right there in the court house. A black patch in front marks the place where cigarettes were ground into the sand and smokers whipped. A few yards away is the stadium where the residents of Gao once watched football and were now forced to come to watch amputations.
In al-Qaeda’s Timbuktu prison, women were locked up and lashed for being immodest. “A Malian woman has spoken of how she was thrown into an Islamist prison and given 15 lashes a day for letting a veil slip off her head.