“If you don’t have the strength of your thief, you have to help him carry his booty”, teaches the Sahelian thought. Is it this imperative of realpolitik or a desire for very broad reconciliation that allowed a strange Malian ceremony with hints of rehabilitation?… Houka Houka Ag Alhousseini is a former Islamic judge who pronounced implacable sentences, a few years ago, in the city of 333 Saints, precisely at the Bouctou hotel converted into an Islamic court: public stonings for intimate relations hors marriage, consumption of cigarettes or music, breaches of the highway code, imprisonment for wearing an “imperfect” veil or even shortening of trousers to knee level. Before his arrest by the Malian army near Goundam in January 2014, the relative of the jihadists had ordered the amputation of the hand of Mahamane Dédéou, then aged 22, for alleged theft of a mattress.
Under UN sanction
Released under mysterious conditions in August 2014, the former sympathizer of the Ansar Dine group is still under United Nations sanctions. At the end of October, the former head of the Islamic court of Toumbouctou addressed a letter to the governor of the region. To the representative of a state that was nevertheless secular, Houka Houka Ag Alhousseini laid down conditions for the reopening of schools closed for reasons of insecurity: compulsory teaching of Islamic law and the Koran, introduction of Arabic into the curriculum, establishment of an Islamic-compatible dress-code for students, separation of boys and girls in classrooms, and assignment of teachers of the same sex as them taught.
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Coincidence of the calendar? It was a few days later that the governor of Timbuktu presented the religious preceptor, among others, with a “certificate of recognition” on which was inscribed: “To Mr. Houka Houka Ag Alhousseini, for his service and his continued devotion to living together in the region of Timbuktu”.
If the tribute looks like a rehabilitation, the coming weeks will provide information on the questions that arise: do the honors reflect a local improvisation or a national will? Does the certificate given to Ag Alhousseini mean a benevolent listening to his requirements, particularly in terms of education? Will other ceremonies reward personalities of the same ilk, or does the rapprochement with the former Islamic judge only serve to divide and conquer?
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As if to demonstrate that participation in this state ceremony was not worth renouncing his spiritual requirements, the honoree boasted of a “patriotic commitment” which is intended to be “religious precept as long as it does not deviate from the paths traced by the Koran and Islamic traditions. Dont act.