An update on those terrible attacks upon World Heritage sites in Timbuktu: the Associated Foreign Press reports that locals have established an armed watch to defend precious historical Muslim sites in and around the city.
One representative of the group is quoted as saying, “We are not going to allow people who know nothing about Islam to come and destroy our treasures. I studied in Mauritania and Saudi Arabia, no one tells us in the Koran that we should destroy tombs.”
This is an important step towards ensuring the conservation of these sites against the radical Islamists who would label them “haram,” or heretical. And for what it’s worth coming from me, I applaud these people for standing up for themselves, for their faith, and their heritage. It will take a lot more to destroy the extremist organization Ansar Dine, and a lot more beyond that to put an end to people following that sort of ideology.
Meanwhile, a hoard of Crusader coins has been found in Israel. Archaeology.org’s News Feed constantly has stories about hoards of gold coins being discovered. But, the article seems to indicate that finding Crusader hoards in Israel is relatively rare, especially one of this size. Given how romanticized/dramatized Crusaders are (or am I thinking of Templars?), this seems an especially exciting find.