ISIS destroys ancient Christian cemeteries in Iraq

The extremist group also considers praying or worshiping at graves sites to be idolatry.

April 21, 2015 16:33
1 minute read.

ISIS destroys gravestones in Mosul. (photo credit: MEMRI)


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The Islamic State released yet another set of images of militants desecrating Christian  history, this time shattering ancient graves in Mosul.

The images were released in a post on official Islamic State media last week entitled” Leveling Graves and Erasing Pagan Symbols.”

"The April 16 destruction of Christian graves in Mosul, Iraq by the Islamic State (ISIS) is part of the organization's ongoing campaign against Christianity, in the Middle East and throughout the Muslim world," Steven Stalinsky, executive director of The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), who flagged the photos, told FOX News.

The images appeared on various jihadist websites before being obtained by MEMRI. Photos show militants using sledgehammers to destroy gravestones and removing any Christian imagery from the site. ISIS released a written  justification for the destruction that was released along with the photos, claiming that the hadith states that graves higher than ground level must be destroyed. Additionally, any image or inscription on such a grave must be erased.

"It is important to note that ISIS is documenting its destruction and desecration of Christian sites and its attacks on Christian communities, and on other minorities' sites and communities, and is disseminating these images worldwide via social media," Stalinsky explained. "By doing this, ISIS is not only showcasing what it is doing, but is also mocking the West by demonstrating that it is doing so freely, with no one trying to stop it."

The extremist group also considers praying or worshiping at grave sites to be idolatry. This interpretation of the Muslim hadith directly plays into the extremist ISIS ideology of cultural cleansing. 

Since its inception, ISIS has called for the eradication of Christianity, and has made a point of expelling the religion from all it’s controlled territories. In addition to brutally executing Middle Eastern members of the Christian faith, the extremist group has also destroyed Christian Churches, monasteries and holy sites in the region.

ISIS has occupied the Northern Iraqi city of Mosul since June 2014, and has turned the city into the extremist group’s stronghold in the region.

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