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
- Pamela Roberts et Ezechiel Lopemba de SIL en visite à FAVL-BF
- Someday you might like this song by Jason Molina, Farewell Transmission, but don’t go down his dark path no no
- Why did the South support the Federal income tax and the 16th amendment? because they understood the Progressive movement all too well
- Who I Am & Why I Am Where I Am by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
- Kathryn Schulz in The New Yorker, on WIlliam Kelley, a fantastic short essay
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