Reporting tends to portray Islamic Sharia law as barbaric. Guest blogger Alex Thurston writes that this tendency hinders a chance to understand countries like Mali in their complexity.
Islamists hijacked a long-running Tuareg rebellion in Mali and have turned the north into a strict Islamist state. Here are four key questions about where things might go from here.
Military intervention toppled Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, but it also helped create a possible Islamist haven in northern Mali ... which has prompted more calls for military intervention.
Writer Steve Kemper tackles Barth in the first biography in English about the explorer who ventured into Islamic Africa.
This week's best pieces include a stunning series on the men and women who helped South Sudan gain independence, how India duped the world, and what journalism's central goal should (still) be.
Ansar Dine, the Islamist group that controls Mali's north, destroyed historic tombs and damaged a mosque this weekend, saying the religious landmarks constitute idolatry.
Ansar Dine, the Islamist militia that shares control of Mali's north, is just the latest in long line of zealots of many faiths who destroyed the monuments of other faiths thought to be superstitious.