100 Sharia Lashes for Unwed Parents in Mali


Written by Lova

The grip of Islamist group Ansar Dine on northern Mali and their imposition of Islamic law or Sharia has recently been tragically demonstrated in Timbuktu. A couple who had a child out of wedlock, publicly received 100 lashes each [fr].

This video of the sentence being carried out, shared by MaliWeb [fr] on YouTube [WARNING: Graphic content], shocked many Malians and they reacted strongly across social media.

Imposition of Sharia

In Jeune Afrique, Mohamed Ould Baby, one of the town’s elected officials, describes the surreal scene of the sentence [fr] which shocked so many residents of Timbuktu:

On Timbuktu’s Sankoré square, a man and a woman each received one hundred lashes for having had a child out of wedlock [..] It was quite a spectacle, people watched it. I saw the young couple get down from a vehicle in the square, then the lashings. It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this

Frozen by fear

The impact of the scene was heightened by the veiling of the young couple’s faces and the absence of any reaction from the spectators, as if they were frozen by fear or disbelief. The young couple were then forced to marry.

Moussa Kaka has seen this phenomenon–this “freezing” of people’s reactions–it has affected the population of Gao too [fr]. In Slate Afrique he reports:

The “calmness of Gao’s population… in a town (which) seems frozen”. Ansar Dine and the mujahideen control all of the occupied territory. “They control the lives of the population, they control the mosques, […] how to dress, how to live…”

In the same article [fr], another person states:

I was given forty lashes because I was smoking and I carried on smoking after they had forbidden me

The imposition of Sharia law in northern Mali [fr] is one of the main objectives of Islamist group Ansar Dine, who took control of Timbuktu [fr] following a shortlived alliance [fr] with the Touareg MNLA movement.

Malijet gives details of other acts of Sharia [fr] which have been implemented in northern Mali:

Last week members of Mujao burned cartons of cigarettes and whipped smokers in Bourem, a northern Malian town occupied and controled by the group. In May, in the town of Gao, they forbade young people from playing football and watching television, a move that provoked violent anti-islamist demonstrations.

Outrage among Malians

Many Malians are outraged by these punishments. But Ansar Dine is not the only group to face the wrath of Internet users. In the comment section of the Malijet news site [fr] where a video of the lashing was posted, Doumbia expresses her shame at the situation:

I’m ashamed of the Malian army, of the ECOWAS heads of state, of Malian politicians…I’m ashamed of myself faced with this barbarity perpetrated by rapists, murders, parasitic enemies of humanity… The elected deputies, the Ministers from the two ATT (Amadou Toumani Toure) terms of office, Malian army deserters, they’re all no better than these men.

Djéné adds [fr]:

It’s lamentable. We can’t carry on letting ourselves get trampled on by these people. Take a good look at the one doing the hitting and we’ll find him; he’ll get the same treatment. Their forced marriage is worthless, if they want to they can do it when the north is free. Young people you are my children and I’m ashamed of the country allowing this to happen.

In another post on the same issue commentator Momar calls on the government to take responsibility and intervene [fr]:

Mr Diarra, if you don’t do something about these barbarians as soon as possible we are going to force you out. Our souls and our digity are suffering greatly. But this hasn’t ever been seen before in Africa. It’s unbelieveable. Even after winning a war against these foreign savages, these acts of infamy will stain our consciences.

But not everyone agrees. Karaski think that Malians have a spiritual choice to make [fr]:

I don’t agree with the way these armed groups have landed in our counrty, and I think that it is for Malians to decide if Sharia law should be adopted. Nevertheless, quite frankly: this is just the practice of Allah’s commands. And we all need to tell ourself that those who disapprove of the punishment either because they find it inhuman, something out of the dark ages… they need to know that what they are rejecting is Islam, and they need to question the sincerity of their faith in Allah and the Quran.

Malien retorts to Karaski with another interpretation of Islam [fr]:

We respect universal human values, we don’t rape even though we aren’t Muslim, we don’t rob even though we aren’t Muslim, we aren’t drug traffickers, we aren’t irresponsible, we work and we provide for ourselves. If Islam means being like you; no we are not Muslim and we never will be. The Islam we know means peace, respect for yourself and others, respect for human dignity.

This post was originally published by Global Voices.


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Photo: DravirB/flickr


Linda Tonner
Linda Tonner6 years ago

Having lived in Saudi and seen the crowds descend on 'Chop-chop Square' in Jeddah every Friday after prayers, (when the big hotels had wonderful all-you-can-eat buffet brunches) I have always wondered why a huge crowd, or even a small one, couldn't have the courage in the force of their numbers to 'storm' the whipper, cutter, executioner, to stop the barbarity. Is it fear? Agreement with the punishment? Fear of going against their nasty religion? Fear of their neighbours judging them? Simply despising a person for being a lowly female? I wish I knew.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Elisa Zeeley
Elisa Zeeley6 years ago

Thank you Robert P. and Alex H. I agree with you both...

Georgia Armstrong
Georgia a6 years ago

To Rational Person M. Bravo!! I've been saying the same thing now for years and a lot of my friends think I'm a little nuts. They are not paying attention to these cities which are now becoming almost totally Muslim, building their own churches, schools, businesses, etc. Wait until enough of these cities exist to become a true voting block and then see what happens to this country. I am old enough I probably won't be here but I have children and grandchildren I fear for. Plus our politicians keep kissing their butts. What happened to the true old American spirit where we stood up for our country and God in our great country. Someone please tell me that.

rational person marcus
Marc H6 years ago

"Who cares what this third world county does"
I do, because they're hardly hiding the fact that one of the biggest goals for these muslim morons is to spread islam throughout the world. It's not a coincidence that we see more and more problems wherever there is more muslim immigrants. Ignore what I say if you wish, but just look at the statistics for yourself. What's some of the worst problems faced in European societies today? You've guessed it (or did you?); incompatible cultures, where one of them is creating parallel societies with a hate for the host country and its people, and a goal of destroying it and introduce its own so called "religion" (ideology, to be more accurate) and law for all. Do I need to name this "religion"? Funny that everyone knows which "religion" I'm talking about, and yet everyone seems so quick to come to its defense and say "oh, but it's just another religion, they too should have the right to their religious views". Maybe you too will care when you open your eyes to what islam is really about.

June Lacy
June Lacy6 years ago


June Lacy
June Lacy6 years ago


Leslie Gaiter
Leslie Gaiter6 years ago

Is this any more barbaric than branning women with the letter A. I believe this is custom that needs to stop, but it is equal.

J.L. A.
JL A6 years ago


Betsy M.
Betsy M6 years ago

These power-hungry invaders use "sharia law" as an excuse. I hope the shock woke Mali up. They are an ancient seat of civilization, and deserve better than to be invaded and tormented by the Abrahamic religions.