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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312302940, Paperback)Few Americans heard about it, but the story gripped Europe (and especially France) during the summer of 1996: The mysterious kidnapping and murder of seven Trappist monks living in the Algerian village of Tibhirine at their monastery of Notre-Dame de l'Atlas. John W. Kiser III tells their story, or at least what parts of it can be known; much of what happened to them remains unclear, including the motives of their captors. Parts of The Monks of Tibhirine are grim, but this is an unavoidable fact of the case. The monks' bodies, for instance, never have been found--except for their heads. Kiser describes the scene: "The monks' desiccated faces, hollow eye sockets, and exposed teeth made them look like mummies." (Apparently they had been buried, then disinterred.) Readers looking for a nonfiction thriller won't find it on these pages, however. Much of the book is a history of monks living in Algeria, and much of the rest chronicles the good relationships the seven doomed monks shared with their Muslim neighbors. Their devotion to both their faith and their neighbors is inspiring; the way they died is abhorrent. --John Miller
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:28 -0400)
In the spring of 1996, militants of the Armed Islamic Group, today affiliated with Osama bin Laden's Al Queda network, broke into a Trappist monastery in war-torn Algeria. Seven monks were taken hostage, pawns in a murky negotiation to release imprisoned terrorists. Two months later, the severed heads of the monks were found in a tree not far from Tibhirine. Their bodies were never recovered.
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