ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi told followers of his terror group that destroying Egypt’s national monuments, such as the pyramids and the sphinx, is a “religious duty” that must be carried out by those who worship Islam, as idolatry is strictly banned in the religion, according to reports.
UK radical Islamist Anjem Choudary echoed Baghdadi’s sentiments, telling The Telegraph: “When Egypt comes under the auspices of the Khalifa [Caliphate], there will be no more pyramids, no more Sphinx, no more idolatry,” saying that the ancient statues’s destruction “will be just.”
Another Islamist preacher, Ibrahim Al Kandari, agrees that the cultural monuments need to be destroyed to comply with the Shariah.
“The fact that early Muslims who were among prophet Mohammed’s followers did not destroy the pharaohs’ monuments upon entering Egypt does not mean that we shouldn’t do it now,” he told Al-Watan.
The jihadi terror threat to Egypt has steadily increased following the fall of its Muslim Brotherhood regime and the installation of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, who has pledged to rid the country of its radical elements.
This week, Egyptian military personnel have faced an onslaught of terror attacks, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula, where a terror group loyal to ISIS remains the dominant jihadi outfit.
On Wednesday, the ISIS-affiliated Sinai Province (formerly known as Ansar Bayt Al Maqdis) claimed responsibility for a series of simultaneously attacks against Egyptian military checkpoints, killing, by some estimates, as many as 70 Egyptian soldiers.
Egyptian special forces struck back with several airstrikes against terror positions, including a raid at a Cairo apartment stocked with Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
Egyptian authorities claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood (and Palestinian terrorist group Hamas) helped to coordinate the Sinai attacks against military checkpoints.
The Brotherhood has responded by calling for an open “rebellion” against President el-Sisi and the Egyptian government.