BAMAKO — A Timbuktu man accused of drinking alcohol was given 40 lashes Monday by members of an Islamist group that has seized the north Malian city and imposed Islamic law there, witnesses said.
"A young man has just been lashed 40 times for drinking alcohol. The whipping took place in the Timbuktu market," a resident told AFP by phone.
"He is injured and was taken to hospital," the resident added, asking not to be identified.
Other witnesses confirmed the incident.
The Islamist group, Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith), is one of several Al-Qaeda-linked groups that seized northern Mali amid a power vacuum opened by a March 22 military coup in the south.
The groups have been imposing sharia throughout their territory, and aim to spread the strict Islamic law to the rest of Mali.
If sharia is so benevolent and constitution-compliant, there should be no problem at all. If not, then there may be a need for Ground Zero mosque imam Rauf, or Ibrahim Hoper of CAIR, or John Esposito of Georgetown University or any of the myriad other explainers of Islam to go to Mali and tell Ansar Dine they have Islam completely wrong.