ISIS Opens Market for Spoils Stolen from Christians in Mosul

AP Photo/Karim Kadim
AP Photo/Karim Kadim

Islamist militants have opened a special market in Mosul for the sale of goods confiscated from the houses and churches of Christians. The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS) has dubbed the open-air market the “Spoils of Nasara” (Spoils of Christians).

The market has been positioned on the right bank of the Tigris River, which cuts through the Iraqi city of Mosul. Mosul is currently the largest city controlled by the Islamic State.

The goods for sale comprise televisions, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioning units, and numerous other electrical appliances stolen from Christian homes in the area. The market also features material taken from Syriac, Catholic, Armenian, and Chaldean churches. Prices reportedly range from 50 to 75 thousand Iraqi dinars and are drawing a large number of customers since the merchandise offered is of good quality and low priced.

The establishment of the Christian spoils market follows on the invasion of Mosul’s Central Library earlier this month, when ISIS militants broke into the library and hauled away thousands of texts to be burned, leaving only Islamic texts.

Some of the confiscated materials were sold on the black market, rather than being destroyed or burned. Last September, ISIS reportedly made millions in profits from the sale of ancient materials.

According to a British parliamentarian, ISIS is financing its operations partly by stealing and selling artifacts in Iraq and Syria, including early Bronze Age tables with cuneiform writing.

In a recent essay for The Art Newspaper, Robert Jenrick wrote, “We live in a time of the most tragic and outrageous assault on our shared heritage that any of us have seen since the end of the Second World War.”

Jenrick added that “no one group has done more to put our heritage at risk than Islamic State.”

Other funding of ISIS activities has come from the sale of oil from seized fields, which brings in up to $3 million a day, according to reports.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.


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