Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Secular Education, Different Culture and Civilization Are ISIS' Enemies Too

human-headed winged bull (photo credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen)
ISIS is not only intolerant of people who do not conform to its extreme religious belief; it is also averse to things that they deem idolatrous. The latest victims of its atrocities are the Mosul Public Library and the Mosul Museum which housed precious books and priceless artifacts and other things of historic value.                                                                                                                                                                    
On February 25, 2015, ISIS forces broke into the Mosul Museum which housed several statues and artifacts that date back to the ancient Assyrian, Akkadian, Greco-Roman and Islamic empires around Mesopotamia. That region which is identified with the Fertile Crescent is considered one of the cradles of civilization on which agriculture, writing and other fields of human endeavor developed. Members of the ISIS used sledge hammers and electric drills to pound and smash artifacts and other properties inside the museum.   
Also on the last week of February 2015, ISIS bombed the Mosul Public Library and burned about 8,000 rare books and manuscripts. ISIS considers those reading materials as promoting infidelity and disobedience to Allah. Efforts by some local residents to persuade the ISIS members not to destroy the library failed.                                                                                                                                          
People around the world were horrified with the incidents considering that the books are there to promote knowledge, and the artifacts and other historical items are not objects of worship in the modern time. Those objects are there as legacy of the past and lesson to link us to our world’s history. The loss of the books and artifacts such as the gigantic human-headed winged bull because of intentional destruction is a loss not only to the Iraqi people but also to other people of the world.

During the US-led invasion of 2003, there were looting of books and artifacts. But there were people who were able to save some of them by hiding them in their homes. However, at present, the ISIS warned people that such acts are now punishable by death.

The ISIS is notorious for its brutality to people who do not share their views. And places that are deemed sacred to others such as churches and mosques are not spared. Among those destroyed last year were the church of the Virgin Mary, and the mosques at the tombs of prophet Younis or Jonah, Prophet Jirjis or George and Prophet Seth.                                                                                                                                           
In the religious traditions of Muslims, Christians and Jews Seth was the third son of Adam and Eve. Jonah in the tradition was swallowed by a whale because of his defiance to God’s order to go to Nineveh and prophesy against it. Inside the fish belly, Jonah repented and pleaded to God to save him. After three days the fish spewed Jonah out, and he then proceeded to follow God’s order. In the Christian tradition, the story of Jonah relates to the death and resurrection of Christ.

The Mosque which was a site of an ancient church that contained the tomb of Jonah as well as the other mosques at the tomb of the prophets was destroyed because people made them as shrines and places for pilgrimage. ISIS considers the practice as idolatry because people divert their worship from Allah who is the only one who deserves it. The ISIS considers the shrines as sites of apostasy instead of places for prayer.  

ISIS' aim is to establish an Islamic caliphate and impose Sharia law. In consonance to those objectives it has to purge all practices and relics which do not conform to their radical religious views. Many people around the world have condemned the acts of the terrorist group, and Muslim religious and political leaders have disowned it. Some of the Muslim nations even joined forces with the western world to fight and eliminate the ISIS in Syria and Iraq.