Islamic State Destroys Cultural Artifacts that Predate Christ

This artifact is safe in the Louvre Image Credit:  Luidger

This artifact is safe in the Louvre
Image Credit: Luidger

Mosul, Islamic State (TFC) – The Islamic State has ordered the destruction of ancient statues and artifacts in areas the theocracy controls. The destruction has been carried out in some areas, robbing the world of historical artifacts it will never see again.

The last glimpse of those artifacts was via an Islamic State propaganda video released via Twitter. The most dramatic destruction occurred when IS forces destroyed the statues of a god of protection worshiped by ancient Assyrians. The winged bulls with human heads were destroyed with sledgehammers and drills on video as archaeologists and historians all over the world wept. One of the earliest known cultures in the area left its mark all over the region with similar statues. Those historical markers are slowly being wiped away by the Islamic State. The theocracy deems them to be “un-Islamic” reminders of heresy.

The Islamic State was not content with destroying the ancient cultural markers; they also ransacked the central library in Mosul, destroying 100,000 books and manuscripts. Many of these manuscripts held some of the Arab world’s most significant cultural and scientific contributions to the development of global civilization.

Irina Bokova of the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) said:

“This destruction marks a new phase in the cultural cleansing perpetrated in regions controlled by armed extremists in Iraq. It adds to the systematic destruction of heritage and the persecution of minorities that seeks to wipe out the cultural diversity that is the soul of the Iraqi people.”

This destruction follows previous destruction from the various conflicts in the region that have lasted more than a decade.

Although a taboo subject among archeologists and cultural experts, the world may be glad that some Western powers took massive collections of cultural art from the area during the colonial period. At least one example of the Assyrian artwork from around 710 B.C. is safe inside the British Museum.