Tuesday, June 24, 2014
ISIS pledges to destroy shrines
Assyrian church on fire in Mosul
With thanks: Maurice
Jewish and other non-Muslim shrines are at risk of obliteration at the hands of ISIS, the jihadist Sunni terrorist army sweeping across Iraq.
No sooner had it seized Mosul and surrounding villages, than ISIS began outlining how it would govern "its state".
It released a "Wathiqat al-Madina" (A "charter of the city"). In rough translation, the charter says : "Our position towards the polytheistic scenes and shrines in Iraq is that we would not leave any grave without flattening it, and no statue without obliterating it".
Following the announcement, it was reported that ISIS had set fire to the historic Assyrian church in Mosul.
The tomb of the prophet Jonah near Mosul in the governorate of Nineveh has fallen to ISIS control. The tomb is venerated by both Jews and Muslims.
However, the tomb of the prophet Nahum in the village of Elkosh, in the governorate of Nineveh, is now under Kurdish control. Once ISIS had entered Mosul, the peshmerga Kurdish fighters stepped in to establish control of the area, which has a mixed population of Christians, Kurds, Yezidis and Arabs.
It is not known who controls the tomb of the prophet Daniel in Kirkuk.
So far, the tomb of the prophet Ezekiel in the al-Hilla district in the mid-southwest of the governorate of Babylon has not been affected by the fighting, although battles have been raging in the north of the province. The Prophet is also revered by Muslims as Thu al-Kifil.
ISIS has not yet reached Baghdad, where the tombs of Joshua the High Priest and Shaykh Ishaq Gaon are located. The tomb of Ezra the Scribe in al-Uzayr, midway between Baghdad and Basrah, is presently beyond the reach of ISIS.
Battlefield casualties are mounting and tens of thousands of soldiers have deserted from the Iraqi army. Many residents of Baghdad are fleeing the city for the Kurdish north, as sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shi'a escalate. Half a million Iraqis have been forced to flee their homes in the last weeks, creating a large-scale humanitarian crisis. Some are saying that Iraq is on the brink of disintegration.