Al-Qaeda

Author tells of jihad, conquest and priceless manuscripts at Rancho Santa Fe Literary Society gathering

Author tells of jihad, conquest and priceless manuscripts at Rancho Santa Fe Literary Society gathering

In 2012, under the radar of many Western countries, armed jihadis - some affiliated with Al Qaeda - took over a large swath of Mali, which borders Algeria and Mauritania in northern Africa.

Along with its toll on the country’s residents, the terrorist occupation of Mali also put at risk a valuable historical resource - hundreds of thousands of precious, handwritten and illuminated manuscripts, containing ancient wisdom on all manner of subjects, from religion to science to art. The jihadis, who were known to destroy ancient temples and artifacts, threatened at one point in the occupation to burn the manuscripts.

Determined to protect the manuscripts of Timbuktu, one of...

56°