Islamic extremists, in control of northern Mali, are becoming increasingly more brutal in their treatment of the local population. Women are being targeted. This week a Malian woman was sentenced to receive 100 lashes for giving water to a male visitor.
Fanatical Islamists have imposed the strictest form of sharia on the moderate Muslim population of northern Mali, forcing women to adopt a strict Islamic dress code and enforcing segregation of the sexes.
The Independent reported Fatima al-Hassan from the legendary city of Timbuktu, was arrested by Islamic police and sentenced to 100 lashes: Her crime, giving water to a male visitor. Hassan was set free before the sentence could be imposed due to her brother's connection to an Islamic commander. She recounted she was arrested for handing a glass of water to a male friend on her veranda. Hassan said: "If they had found me with him near the bedroom, they would have shot us both on the spot."
Hassan managed to flee the area to southern Mali, but others have not been so lucky. Human rights activists said three unmarried couples each received 100 lashes.
According to Prezi extremists are now compiling lists of unmarried mothers and detaining Malian Muslim women not adhering to the Islamic dress code. One human rights activist reported that forced marriages are becoming commonplace. USA Today reported Ivan Simonovic of the U.N. Human Right's observed: "The price to buy a wife is less than $1,000 and it's often misused." He explained the forced marriages were often a smokescreen for prostitution and rape.
Malian women are suffering under the brutal regime of sharia law, previously an unknown commodity in Mali. Unless they can flee the oppression their voices will be silenced.