Having established themselves in Mosul, the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has continued its efforts to destroy the history of the second-largest city in Iraq. The terrorist group published a video of militants destroying thousands years old artifacts with glee and smiles on their faces.
“These ruins that are behind me, they are idols and statues that people in the past used to worship instead of Allah,” said one militant.
The so-called Assyrians and Akkadians and others looked to gods for war, agriculture and rain to whom they offered sacrifices. The Prophet Mohammed took down idols with his bare hands when he went into Mecca. We were ordered by our prophet to take down idols and destroy them, and the companions of the prophet did this after this time, when they conquered countries.
Islamic State jihadists have made it policy to destroy anything that stands in their way as they spread their caliphate across Iraq and Syria. Since June, media outlets reported many times the Islamic State destroyed and sold antiques. The newest video caused more international outrage.
“The birthplace of human civilisation … is being destroyed,” Kino Gabriel, a leader of the Syriac Military Council, told The Guardian. “In front of something like this, we are speechless. Murder of people and destruction is not enough, so even our civilisation and the culture of our people is being destroyed.”
“These statues and idols, these artifacts, if God has ordered its removal, they became worthless to us even if they are worth billions of dollars,” claimed the man in the video.
However, the priceless antiques are not worthless for the radical Islamic group. The sale of antiques to collectors, including Westerners, turned the Islamic State into billionaires. The Wall Street Journal reported about the Syrian “Monuments Men,” who work to preserve the precious history. A cleric and American priest worked before and after the invasion of Mosul to preserve manuscripts. But each video that surfaces is another punch in the face to historians.
“I’m totally shocked,” said Amir al-Jumaili, a professor at the Archaeology College in Mosul. “It’s a catastrophe. With the destruction of these artifacts, we can no longer be proud of Mosul’s civilization.”
“When you watch the footage, you feel visceral pain and outrage, like you do when you see human beings hurt,” said Mardean Isaac, an member of A Demand for Action, a group that protects Assyrians and minorities in Iraq and Syria.