Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mali: Students flee Sharia laws in northern schools...

Strict Sharia, or Islamic religious laws, imposed by the Islamist rebels controlling vast swathes of northern Mali are driving thousands of students out of schools. Dress codes have been imposed, boys and girls are forced to learn separately, and subjects deemed to promote "infidelity" have been struck off the curriculum.

Outraged parents are transferring their children and some students are opting to miss examinations rather than learn under these conditions.

"We simply took our two children from the school," said Mariam Touré, who lives in Timbuktu, one of the northern towns seized by the Islamists and other insurgents. "We will send them to Bamako [the capital of Mali, in the south] to continue learning."

(...)

Although schools have taken the brunt of the draconian Islamic laws, residents can also no longer watch television, men cannot shave their beard or use tobacco. On 20 June, a Timbuktu couple was flogged 100 times in public for having a child out of wedlock, sparking condemnation by shocked and angry residents.

"I was really shocked to see these poor youths undergo such punishment simply because of having a child. It made me cry. It's a shame," said Mariama, a schoolgirl. Full story...

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