Monday, July 2, 2012


The world is in a huff at  the latest antics of the Islamists in Azawad, destroying ancient shrines.   A bit of perspective (and note, this is not to condone, but to get the topology right):  such iconoclasm is strictly comparable to the despoiling of Catholic churches and monastaries by Protestants in England during the Reformation.  Indeed, Sunnis are something like Protestants-avant-la-lettre; and mainstream Islam is quite like Protestantism in exalting the primacy of the Word (in this case, as revealed in the Koran), and in greatly downplaying the role of monks or clergy.  Additionally, Shiism and Sufism bear certain analogies to the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.

Images of the patrimoine -- al-turaath al-`aalamiy -- currently undergoing destruction:

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