To avoid being whipped, mutilated, and jailed, women in Timbuktu now have to wear black veils and loose-fitting clothing. Radical Islamists, who took control of the city months ago, are laying down their law – Sharia law – and for the first time since they’ve arrived, they’re specifically targeting women.
Over the past few weeks, Islamists from two armed groups – Ansar Dine and Mujao, who took over northern Mali in April – have increasingly made use of corporal punishment against the local population. This includes whipping, amputations, and even stoning people to death who do not obey Sharia law.
[ . . . ]
Four days ago, in the markets and at the hospital, Islamists began to ask women to cover their heads entirely [Editor’s Note: many women wore light veils that showed some of their hair]. In a message broadcast on the radio on Thursday, they also announced that women were no longer allowed outside after 11 p.m. Since then, the Islamist fighters that patrol the streets have been monitoring the women, and they hit women who don’t obey this new rule with their sticks.
Until now, many women in Timbuktu wore light veils that covered part of their hair. But the cloth, often white, was quite transparent. The Islamists have decided women should wear a much larger veil that covers their ears, and that it has to be black. They also banned tight clothes that many of the young women wear.
The Islamists announced that any woman who disobeys their rules will have her ears cut off and be sent to a new, all-female prison.
Read more: Women in Mali Face Beating For Not Wearing Veil.
From the Jakarta Globe, Women Suffer Behind Veil of Silence in Mali’s North:
It was just six months ago that Toula, a young woman from Gao in northeastern Mali, could swim and do her laundry in the nearby Niger River. Not anymore.
Since late March, her dusty desert town and others like it across Mali’s massive north have been under the control of hardline Islamists who have imposed tough sharia law.
“These barbarians have refused everything. They don’t want to see girls bathing,” says Toula who, like other residents, asked her last name not be used.
The freedoms formerly enjoyed by Toula and other women in Gao, previously one of the region’s most cosmopolitan and lively towns, disappeared almost overnight. Most noticeably, women are now forced to wear the hijab, a broad scarf that covers the entire head and neck but leaves the face exposed. “I can’t stand how I am at the moment, covered in a veil from head to toe. It’s as if I was in prison,” 15-year-old Aicha said.
“We are no longer free. That’s all there is to it. Nobody for the moment wants to free us,” Toula said.
So Mali becomes like Afghanistan and women become chattel under sharia law. So sad.