Islamic State militants ransacked Mosul’s central museum
, destroying priceless artefacts that are Thousands of years old, in the group’s latest rampage which threatens to upend millennia of coexistence in the Middle East. The destruction of statues and artefacts that date from the Assyrian and Akkadian empires
, revealed in a video published by Isis on Thursday, drew ire from the International community and condemnation by activists and minorities that have been attacked by the group. “The birthplace of human civilisation … is being destroyed”
, said Kino Gabriel, one of the leaders of the Syriac Military Council – a Christian militia – in a telephone interview with the Guardian from Hassakeh in north-eastern Syria. The destruction took place in Mosul, the Iraqi city that has been under the control of Isis since June when jihadi fighters advanced rapidly across the country’s north. “In front of something like this, we are speechless
,” said Gabriel. “Murder of people and destruction is not enough, so even our civilisation and the culture of our people is being destroyed.”
The five-minute video, which was released by the “press office of the province of Nineveh [the region around Mosul]”, begins with a Qur’anic verse on idol worship. An Isis representative then speaks to the camera, condemning Assyrians and Akkadians as polytheists, justifying the destruction of the artefacts and statues.
The man describes the prophet Muhammad’s destruction of idols in Mecca as an Example
“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
,” the man said.
“When you watch the footage, you feel visceral pain and outrage, like you do when you see human beings hurt,”
said Mardean Isaac, an Assyrian writer and member of A Demand for Action, an organisation dedicated to protecting the rights of the Assyrians and other minorities in Syria and Iraq. A caption says the artefacts did not exist in the time of the prophet, and were put on display by “devil worshippers”,
a term the militant group has used in the past to describe members of the Yazidi minority. [.......]