MOSUL, Iraq – Jihadists of the radical Islamic State posted a video Saturday showing how they recently destroyed ancient statues in the northern Iraqi city of Hatra, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.
The destruction was confirmed to Efe by an official of the Tourism Ministry in the northern province of Nineveh.
The jihadist who appears in the video explains the destruction by saying that statues are “categorically prohibited” by Islam, which rejects any kind of “shared God,” a reference to ancient polytheistic religions.
The extremist particularly refers to the time in the life of Muhammad when the prophet reached the city of Mecca and laid waste to the idols of the different local deities.
The jihadist laments that “some organizations” (UNESCO) say that destroying statues is a war crime,” but said the extremists “will continue doing it.”
He also said that “only belief in Allah will be allowed” and they will destroy every place in the world that practices some other religion.
The video shows how the radicals smashed the statues with hammers and assault rifles, knocked them to the ground and broke them to pieces.
Hatra, a great city more than 2,000 years ago, stands south of Mosul and is known for its temples of Greco-Roman architecture with Asian decorations.
This is not the first time that IS jihadists have destroyed priceless statues with the justification that the people of antiquity adored idols “instead of Allah,” which is at odds with the monotheism preached by the prophet Muhammad.
Last Feb. 26, IS released another propaganda video showing the destruction of dozens of historic statues in the Mosul Museum of Civilization, in acts of vandalism supposedly justified by the jihadists’ radical view of Islam.
Days later it was the Assyrian city of Nimrud that was devastated by the jihadists, and last March 8 it was the turn of the ancient city of Dur-Sharrukin, now called Khorsabad.