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Tottoli, Roberto

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Corriere della Sera - Italy | 29/01/2013

Ravaging culture out of hatred for the West

Before withdrawing from Timbuktu the radical Islamists set fire to the ancient town's library and the priceless historical manuscripts it contained. In the summer they had also destroyed several mausoleums in the town's mosques. These cultural treasures have fallen victim to the fundamentalists' hatred of the West, the liberal-conservative daily Corriere della Sera writes: "Behind the destruction of the tombs and the manuscripts in Timbuktu was more than just the iconoclasm that aims to preserve the uniqueness of the worship of the one God. There was the desire to destroy a cultural legacy that enjoys the protection of Unesco and other 'foreign' institutions which are perceived as alien elements that must be eradicated. No religious prescription would permit the destruction of Koran scriptures or the memoirs of scholars. But anything goes when it comes to burning manuscripts and destroying tombs that the West, and not just the West, is watching over."

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