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Tinariwen of Mali

Grammy Award winning artists Tinariwen are bring attention to the radical Islam in Mali. (Photo credit: Burn Silver)

By Faith McDonnell

Sharia enforcers bring ugly, angry noises: Cries of “Allahu Akbar” as a church is attacked. Slashes of swords and blood-gargling death. The throb of Antonovs circling in the sky. The delicate swoosh of a

cluster bomb before impact and release of deadly shrapnel and ball bearings. They leave in their wake the sounds of their victims: Cries of anguish. Wails of desolation and grief.

But Sharia enforcers also bring ugly and angry silence: The silence of freedom suppressed. The deadly pall of dreams extinguished. The sealed lips of unwilling submission and of death. And, in the recently overtaken West African nation of Mali, Sharia has brought an unexpected silence. It has stopped the music that is the lifeblood and identity of the country.

An October 23 Guardian article about the actions of the jihadists that have invaded northern Mali begins with a truckload of militants driving to the northern Mali desert town of Kidal, home of members of “Tinariwen,” a Grammy award-winning band. In a country famous for its contributions to West African culture, the Islamists had come to implement a ban on all Western music.

Read more here.