British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme sheds new light on the history of Africa and Islam; Nick Leech; The National 

Beyond Timbuktu: Preserving the Manuscripts of Djenne, Mali is a new initiative from the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme…

Source: British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme sheds new light on the history of Africa and Islam 

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See the Striking Earthen City of Timbuktu

This West African city—long synonymous with the uttermost end of the Earth—was added to the World Heritage List in 1988, many centuries after its apex.Timbuktu was a center of Islamic scholarship under several African empires, home to a 25,000-student university and other madrasahs that served as wellsprings for the spread of Islam throughout Africa from the 13th to 16th centuries. Sacred Muslim texts, in bound editions, were carried great distances to Timbuktu for the use of eminent scholars from Cairo, Baghdad, Persia, and elsewhere who were in residence at the city. The great teachings of Islam, from astronomy and mathematics to medicine and law, were collected and produced here in several hundred thousand manuscripts. Many of them remain, though in precarious condition, to form a priceless written record of African history. Read more here.

Source: See the Striking Earthen City of Timbuktu

Malian jihadist handed over to ICC on war crimes charges; AFP

Mali – Timbuktu

A Malian jihadist was arrested Saturday and handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face war crimes charges for the destruction of Timbuktu and sex slavery, the tribunal said.

Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud was detained by the Malian authorities and has now arrived at the tribunal’s detention centre in The Hague, the court said in a late-night statement.

The 40-year-old is alleged to have been a member of the Al-Qaeda linked Ansar Dine and the de facto chief of the Islamic police from April 2012 to January 2013.

He faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the destruction of the holy shrines of Timbuktu between 2012-2013 as well as accusations of rape and forced marriage.

Hassan allegedly “participated in the policy of forced marriages which victimised the female inhabitants of Timbuktu and led to repeated rapes and the sexual enslavement of women and girls,” the court said in a statement.

Read more from source: Malian jihadist handed over to ICC on war crimes charges

Meet the scientists immortalizing African heritage in virtual reality; Chris Giles; CNN

Mali – Old Towns of Djenné

(CNN)The archaeological wonders of the world offer a rich window into the past. But many are crumbling, weed-laden and victim to vandalism and conflict.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as those in Libya and Mali, have been caught in the crossfire of regional disputes.
Concerned with the decay of African heritage sites, The Zamani Project, based at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, is seeking to immortalize historic spots in three-dimensional, virtual reality-ready models.
Professor Heinz Ruther steers the project. He ventures up and down the continent — visiting Ghana, Tanzania, Mali, Ethiopia, Kenya and elsewhere — recording in remarkable detail the structure and condition of tombs, churches and other buildings.
“I’ve seen how sites are deteriorating visibly,” Ruther told CNN.
The project’s aim is to build a database of complex, lifelike 3-D models. Presently, they’ve mapped around 16 sites.

Nuclear Disarmament and the Protection of Cultural Heritage; Patricia Lewis; Chatham House

Mali – Old Towns of Djenné

States possessing nuclear weapons should be called upon to consider and publish the risks posed to cultural heritage, and their mitigation strategies, in their nuclear-weapons doctrines and policies.

Summary

  • Renewed risk assessments for nuclear weapons and policies are taking place around the world in light of nuclear modernization and the changing geostrategic environment that is making the use of nuclear weapons more likely. As such the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons and tests have received increased attention. However, the effect on cultural heritage has so far been neglected.
  • The potential for armed conflict to destroy cultural heritage has been recognized in international law since 1954. There is significant evidence on the impact of nuclear weapons on cultural heritage including the consequences of their use in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the effect of nuclear-testing programmes in places of cultural significance since 1945.

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Timbuktu’s mausoleums, ancient city protectors; Oman Observer

Mali – Timbuktu

The shrines of Muslim saints in Timbuktu in northern Mali are widely believed to protect the fabled city from danger, but were largely destroyed by radical Islamists in 2012.
Five years after their destruction the Timbuktu mausoleums have been restored through work carried out by local craftsmen, with help from the UN’s cultural arm UNESCO.
On Thursday the International Criminal Court in The Hague ruled that Malian militant Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi caused 2.7 million euros in damages when he destroyed some of the mausoleums and ordered the payment of compensation to victims.
Mahdi, of the Tuareg people, was jailed for nine years by the court in a landmark verdict in September 2016 after he pleaded guilty to directing attacks on the UNESCO World Heritage site.

‘City of 333 saints’

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Islamist who led destruction in Timbuktu must pay £2.5m; Iain Burns; Daily Mail Online

Mali – Timbuktu

 

  • Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi was a member of the al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine group 
  • In 2012, he led axe-wielding Islamists who wrecked Timbuktu’s ancient buildings
  • Now the International Criminal Court has ruled he must pay £2.5m reparations
  • He was jailed for 9 years in a previous hearing, after apologising for his actions

An Islamic extremist found guilty of a war crime for destroying World Heritage sites in Timbuktu has been told he must pay £2.5million in reparations.

The International Criminal Court in the Netherlands today ruled that Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, a onetime member of the al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine group, must pay for damage to the buildings, economic losses and moral harm to victims.

Al Mahdi had intentionally directed attacks against nine saints’ mausoleums and a mosque door in 2012.

 

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ICC to award damages for jihadist Timbuktu destruction; AFP

Mali – Timbuktu

War crimes judges will Thursday hand down a landmark ruling on reparations for the razing of Timbuktu’s fabled shrines, but the victims’ fund which is to implement the order warned it will not be easy.

Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was jailed for nine years in 2016 after he pleaded guilty to directing attacks on the UNESCO world heritage site during the jihadist takeover of northern Mali in 2012.

Judges ruled last September that Mahdi “supervised the destruction and gave instructions to the attackers” who used pickaxes and bulldozers to hack apart some of the city’s most ancient landmarks.

Last month the judges announced they will hand down a decision on compensation for victims who suffered from the destruction of the ancient city’s centuries-old shrines and mausoleums.

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What You Need To Know About Mali’s 5-Century Monument, “Tomb of Askia”; Philip; How Africa News

Mali – Tomb of Askia

The Tomb of Askia, in Gao, Mali, is believed to be the burial place of Askia Mohammad I, one of the Songhai Empire’s most prolific emperors. It was built at the end of the fifteenth century and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Tomb of Askia is a secular monument that shares both the cultural and religious heritage of Mali.

The pyramid-shaped tomb also functions as a Mosque and is located in the northern town of Gao.

The archaeological site was built by Askia Mohammad I, a famous emperor of Songhai who reigned between the 15th and 16th century.

It is his burial place as Mohamed Soumaïlou Traoré, a cultural animator explains. “It is known as the Tomb of Askia, as a mosque, because Askia himself is buried here. Many of his sons, grandchildren, daughters are buried here.

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Archaeologists seek to promote tourism in Africa’s old Islamic sites; Reuters

Mali – Timbuktu

A group of archaeological experts met in Bahrain to discuss how to use their research on Africa’s archaeology to help promote the continent’s old Islamic sites.

The Islamic Archaeology in Global Perspective Conference, held in capital Manama, hoped to highlight the important role that archaeology has to play in large parts of Africa.

One such site is in Volubilis, Morocco – an important 3rd century BC outpost of the Roman Empire.

It is said to be one of the richest such sites in North Africa today, indicating the existence of several civilizations from a Christian era to the Islamic period.

 

 

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