Returning to Mali, how are policymakers supposed to act on Elischer’s analysis? The “international community” is supposed to “note” the “destabilizing” influence of Dicko and other Salafis in southern Mali. Then what? Demand that Malian politicians repudiate Dicko? Seek to influence elections to the High Islamic Council? Advocate for the arrest of non-violent Salafi preachers? Elevate Sufi Muslims and empower them to marginalize Salafis within Malian institutions and public life? Would any of those actions make it less likely that jihadist groups would storm hotels in Bamako? Or would this kind of suspicion of non-violent Salafis make it even harder to resolve Mali’s many interlocking crises? Analysts and policymakers desperately need more complicated maps of the religious and political terrain of the Sahel. Nearly a decade into my thinking about the region, I realize how little I understand. But I do believe that “good Muslim/bad Muslim” dichotomies serve everyone poorly, and can have dangerous and unintended consequences when applied in policy.
Blogs I Follow
- My wife is good with faces, but I am pretty darn good with melodies
- Fulani arrested in Ghana over Burkina Faso ties?
- Recent reading: The Big Book of Science Fiction, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
- Production de livres du centre multimédia de Houndé au Burkina Faso
- Séance de discussion autour d’une bande dessinée Kouka, au Burkina Faso
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