“Married” six times in one night

The Islamists in Northern Mali are getting more unpleasant.

On a sweltering afternoon, Islamist police officers dragged Fatima Al Hassan out of her house in the fabled city of Timbuktu. They beat her up, shoved her into a white pickup truck and drove her to their headquarters. She was locked up in a jail as she awaited her sentence: 100 lashes with an electrical cord.

“Why are you doing this?” she recalled asking.

Hassan was being punished for giving water to a male visitor.

Grabbed, beaten up, abducted, “sentenced” to 100 lashes with an electrical cord, for giving water to a man. Fatima Al Hassan does something ordinary and sociable, and a bunch of men commit a whole set of violent crimes against her to punish her for that.

“The people are losing all hope,” said Sadou Diallo, a former mayor of the northern city of Gao. “For the past eight months, they have lived without any government, without any actions taken against the Islamists. Now the Islamists feel they can do anything to the people.”

So they do.

Why do people want to do shit like that? Why don’t they hate their “god” and run away from it?

Refugees fleeing the north are now bringing stories that are darker than those recounted in interviews from this summer. Although their experiences cannot be independently verified — because the Islamists have threatened to kill or kidnap Westerners who visit — U.N. officials and human rights activists say that they have heard similar reports of horrific abuses and that some may amount to war crimes.

The refugees say the Islamists are raping and forcibly marrying women, and recruiting children for armed conflict. Social interaction deemed an affront to their interpretation of Islam is zealously punished through Islamic courts and a police force that has become more systematic and inflexible, human rights activists and local officials say.

“They are going around asking every pregnant woman who made her pregnant,” said Alkaya Toure, an official with Cri de Coeur, a Malian human rights group. “They also rely on spies inside the populations in Gao, Timbuktu and elsewhere.”

But as a reward for loyalty, the Islamists have found a religious loophole. They have encouraged their fighters to marry women and girls, some as young as 10, and often at gunpoint. After sex, they initiate a quick divorce. In an extreme case that has shocked the country, a girl in Timbuktu was forced last month to “marry” six fighters in one night, according to a report in one of Mali’s biggest newspapers.

A positively papal level of hypocrisy.

In a telephone interview, a senior Islamist commander conceded that his fighters were marrying young girls.

“Our religion says that if a girl is 12, she must get married to avoid losing her virginity in a wrong way,” said Oumar Ould Hamaha, the military leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa…

And a “wrong” way of course is one without “marriage” – but “marriage” is whatever we say it is, so we can whip you or stone you or fuck you and then divorce you, whichever we choose.

And they treat boys and men like crap too.

I’m so sick of thugs.



  1. julian says

    I feel sick after reading this. Am I right in guessing the situation is outside the control of humanitarian groups? That it’s so chaotic they can’t even go in to provide aid without risking death and worse?

  2. says

    Medicin Sans Frontier are still out there. If you wish to donate, they are always looking for donors (MSF do not receive any national funding. They operate purely through private donations and the donation of time from skilled personnel)

    And what can humanitarian groups do? You need an army to do what you are thinking off not a bunch of doctors and nurses who aren’t armed with anything more than respect and harsh language. Defiance will get you so far.

  3. briane says

    And in a few months time when the 6 time divorcee girl is pregnant, she won’t know who the father is and will be shot for being a whore.

  4. F [disappearing] says

    What would you bet that if this same Fatima had refused water to, say, one of these “police”, she would have gotten the same treatment?

  5. bgrimes says

    These people (and the Christians telling us what really caused the Newtown massacre) don’t think very highly of their god, do they?

  6. says

    Barbaric sub-human behavior from people who worship a barbaric sub-human “god”? Never would have expected that…


    On a serious note, I’m developing a raging hate-on for humanity. Every goddamn day, it’s another thing — someone shooting up a mall, someone killing a bunch of schoolchildren, women being forcibly “married” to strange men, terrorists targeting civilians, rape, murder, abuse… I’m just sick of it all.

  7. davidhart says

    Rodney@9: “This is people using religion to justify grabbing power.”
    Maybe so, but the fact that they can shows that religion is part of the problem. And as a matter of fact, how would you tell the difference between ‘using religion to grab power’ and ‘grabbing power to enforce religion’?
    As Sam Harris put it, a lever only works if it is attached to something.

  8. eric says


    how would you tell the difference between ‘using religion to grab power’ and ‘grabbing power to enforce religion’?

    Its pretty easy to do a first order analysis. Ask whether the behavior is performed mostly by co-religionists in different contexts, or by people with different religions (and none) in the same context but not other contexts. The former implies religion has a lot to do with it; the latter implies it’s an excuse for behavior humans would do anyway. All things considered, for cases like this IMO the latter model seems to be closer to historical truth than the former. Brutality comes from all religions (and none) in lawless or war-torn areas.
    For the record, I don’t think its always true that religion is a mere excuse for behavior people would do anyway, I just think thats the more likely explanation here. You can find other forms of behavior (think Omish or Coptic pacifism, or mormon and evangelical’s focus on proselytization in contrast to Jewish absence of conversion behavior) where the behavior seems to correlate more with religious belief rather than context. In those cases we would be justified in thinking the people in question are likely ‘doing x for religious reasons’ rather than ‘using religion to justify doing x.’

  9. Kevin K says

    It’s a pretty well-known loophole. It’s what keeps the brothels in Muslim countries working.

    The men “marry” the prostitute and then “divorce” her immediately afterward.

    They’re quite literally degrading the women into whores.

  10. smhll says

    Barbaric sub-human behavior from people who worship a barbaric sub-human “god”?

    Barbaric – yes. But “sub-human” is too convenient. This behavior is being done by humans, not animals or troglodytes.

  11. IanT says


    Sub-human is correct, this behaviour is beneath what we consider appropriate human behaviour, measured by human standards. Non-human animals are not “sub-human”, they are “other than human” or simply not human.
    A dog is not “sub-cat”, or an elephant “sub-goat”. Only morally deformed humans could be labelled “sub-human”. As these people, alas, are.

  12. IanT says

    smhll – oops! My reply should not have been directed to you but to the person you were replying to! My apologies.

  13. IanT says

    Or not…pretend my response was not “to” anyone but just put out there and I will withdraw until capable of both reading and writing coherently.

  14. Lyanna says

    These guys are proving right the radical feminist theory that, in patriarchal societies, marriage = rape.

    I know Andrea Dworkin is supposed to be a four-letter word and all, but she had some things 100% right.

  15. Nepenthe says

    A dog is not “sub-cat”

    Well, I was with you right up until there!


    Andrea Dworkin had many things 100% right. The accepted SOP is to repeat those ideas and not credit her, lest one be associated with a loud, fat woman who probably didn’t shave her legs.

  16. freemage says

    ‘dirigible @8: Why would you think WMDKitty is just talking about men? While it’s true that women don’t perform these crimes at anywhere near the frequency, we’ve certainly had evidence in the past that this has more to do with the patriarchy limiting the power-structures that allow this sort of abuse to the control of men. I know of at least one case of a woman government official being tried for war crimes because she ordered the systemic rape of other soldiers during an ethno-religious conflict.

    And from what I’ve seen of WMDK’s posts prior to this, they’re well aware of this fact. So, again, why assume that they were talking solely about men?

  17. Infophile says

    @20 Nepenthe: I’ll give you “loud,” but are you trying to imply there’s something wrong with being fat or not shaving one’s legs? That’s a lot of collateral damage.


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