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A terrible loss

Reader comment on item: Islam vs. History

Submitted by David Koral (United States), Jul 2, 2012 at 21:59

At one time, Mali was one of Africa's wealthiest empires. In the fifteenth century, when Mansa Musa made a pilgrimage to Mecca, he dispensed so much gold over the course of his journey that he actually drove down its value in Egypt. He is depicted on his throne in a map by the Jewish mapmaker Abraham Cresques. When I visited Timbuktu with a tour group in 1999, we were told that the doors to the mosque were designed and built by architects summoned from Spain.

I consider these historical facts as relevant to Dr. Pipes' article only to demonstrate how just a few colorful details from Mali's remote past could capture the imagination of someone living in another part of the world. All of us suffer from such a loss.

At the time I visited Timbuktu, Mali was listed as the third or fourth most poorest nation in the world. I can't say where they rank today, but, considering the recent military coup and the extremely dangerous situation in the Sahara, I fear it may be a long time before the government or any other world body can restore what at one time was one of Islam's major centers of learning. A pity.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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