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February 02, 2013



Of course it's not just the Mali Islamists and Nigeria's Boko Haram who believe that they're fighting a religious war and that their actions are justified by the teachings of Islam. It's also Al-Shabaab, the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, and others. There are too many of these groups to maintain the line that they're nothing to do with mainstream Islam, which is wholly benign. It's a situation which sensible Muslims should find rather embarrassing.


Terry Jones is a nasty imbecile, but he's not Ansar Dine. I think he was just mentioned to balance a Christian against a Muslim.

Mick H

Yes exactly. Hardly comparable.

sackcloth and ashes

@ Mick H

I have the feeling that Wole Soyinka's main point is that 'movements' like Ansar Dine and Boko Haram may have an ideological veneer, but in the end they're just like the RUF and the LRA. It's all about power and terror.

It's also quite striking to see that while Africans - whether it's Soyinka, or Timbuktu's recently liberated citizens - can see the Islamists for what they are, 'Guardian' writers will continue to make excuses for them.

Mick H

Yes, that's his main point. And I agree: it is all about power and terror. But then he's trying to make out that this is somehow not religion. I'm saying, yes, this is religion. This is, exactly, religion.

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