[Buddha-l] On Wanton Destruction (Was Buddhists Taking a Stand Against Isllamophobia)

jo 05jkirk at gmail.com
Thu Sep 20 14:34:30 MDT 2012

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From: buddha-l-bounces at mailman.swcp.com
[mailto:buddha-l-bounces at mailman.swcp.com] On Behalf Of Katherine Masis
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 1:36 PM

Going back to Joannas's and Richard Hayes' remarks on wanton destruction, I
was wondering if there are any comments glorifying the destruction of
libraries, shrines, etc. on the part of the perpetuators.  I would be
interested to see how they defend their point of view.

Katherine Masis
San Jose, Costa Rica

The Salafis who have been destroying ancient Sufi saint tombs in Mali were
Into destroying libraries attached to them.  This, in a small African
country that somehow preserved tons of ancient mss.:

" West African Islam has been deeply influenced by Sufism, the mystical
branch of Islam that favours a metaphorical interpretation of the Qur’an and
focuses on the spiritual development of the individual. West African Sufism
is also known for its cult of the Marabouts, ‘enlightened’ individuals who
mediate between God and humankind and who are also worshipped after they
The groups who have now seized power in northern Mali are followers of a
very different movement: fundamentalist Salafism from Saudi Arabia. Their
brand of Islam has no historical roots in West Africa and it rejects Sufism
and the mystical veneration of saints as a heresy.
It is the fundamentalist Islam imported from Saudi Arabia and its animosity
towards Sufism that has led to the tragic destruction of irreplaceable
symbols of West Africa’s cultural heritage. Salafist literalists have
already destroyed at least three historical mausoleums and they say they
intend to raze them all to the ground. Historic mosques and libraries with
manuscripts are not safe from these barbarians either. The manuscripts would
fetch a fortune on the black market. There is a risk that important
testimonies of a rich African scholarly tradition will disappear forever.
... European historians long claimed that Africa had no written history or
intellectual tradition and that the first light of civilization arrived
there with the European colonization. But if there is one city in Africa
that dispels this myth, it is Timbuktu.

[...]Timbuktu is best known for its historic mosques and mausoleums, where
Sufi saints are entombed. But only recently did people realize that, aside
from a centre of trade, the city was also a significant centre of
intellectual life. In the late 1990s, an international research team found a
number of private libraries where prominent families from Timbuktu kept tens
of thousands of medieval manuscripts. Written in Arabic and in African
languages, the manuscripts showed the world that 13th-century West African
scholars were deeply engaged in the study of religious subjects but also
logic, mathematics, astronomy, medicine and natural sciences.
...Once again extreme fundamentalists are endangering history!  Just as the
Catholic Church destroyed Maya texts and the Taleban destroyed Buddhist
.these pigs are endangering a rich cultural history by their moronic
(from article, http://lobotero.com/2012/07/30/destruction-in-mali/ )
See also http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/12/world/africa/mali-shrines-destroyed/ 

The article is about the latest expression of religious sectarian
destruction of writings or texts. The article says nothing about how the
Salafis justify such destruction, but my readings elsewhere on
ultra-fundamentalist Muslim sects tell me that, just as Sufi saint shrines
represent idol worship, so does the protection of non Koranic (non-Sunni)
religious texts. These are deemed to be blasphemy. Just as death is dealt
out to persons accused of blasphemy, so it is to texts deemed the same. 


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