The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) burned down the Mosul public library, which was home to over 8,000 rare books and manuscripts.
“ISIS militants bombed the Mosul Public Library,” said library director Ghanim al-Ta’an. “They used improvised explosive devices.”
The terrorists regularly destroy shrines, tombs, books, and manuscripts as they attempt to implement their caliphate over Syria and Iraq. Elderly residents begged the men not to burn the building. From Yahoo:
The former assistant director of the library Qusai All Faraj said that the Mosul Public Library was established in 1921, the same year that saw the birth of the modern Iraq. Among its lost collections were manuscripts from the eighteenth century, Syriac books printed in Iraq’s first printing house in the nineteenth century, books from the Ottoman era, Iraqi newspapers from the early twentieth century and some old antiques like an astrolabe and sand glass used by ancient Arabs. The library had hosted the personal libraries of more than 100 notable families from Mosul over the last century.
“900 years ago, the books of the Arab philosopher Averroes were collected before his eyes and burned,” said activist and blogger Rayan al-Hadidi. “One of his students started crying while witnessing the burning. Averroes told him… the ideas have wings… but I cry today over our situation.”
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“What a pity!” exclaimed Akil Kata, who fled Mosul years ago. “We used to go to the library in the 1970s. It was one of the greatest landmarks of Mosul. I still remember the special pieces of paper where the books’ names were listed alphabetically.”
The militants also destroyed the church of Mary the Virgin and the Mosul University Theater on the same day.
The terrorists raided the Central Library of Mosul in December to destroy all non-Islamic books. The library was “the biggest repository of learning the northern Iraqi town.” More than likely the terrorists destroyed “Iraq newspapers dating to the early 20th century, maps and books from the Ottoman Empire, and book collections contributed by about 100 of Mosul’s establishment families.” After that raid, the militants targeted the library at the University of Mosul. They burned science and culture textbooks in front of the students.
In January, NPR interviewed Iraqi Father Najeeb Michaeel and Texan Father Columba Stewart who are determined to rescue Christian artifacts. In a safe house in Erbil, 57 miles east of Mosul, the two men stock any relics they can find, including huge piles of books and manuscripts. While in Mosul, Father Michaeel photographed and digitalized as many books as he could with help from Father Stewart’s Hill Museum and Manuscript Library in Minnesota, but an impending attack by the Islamic State halted his efforts. He packed up a truck full of the collections to save them.