Islamic State destroys tombs, mosques in Mosul


The Islamic State, the jihadist group that controls large areas of both Iraq and Syria, continues to destroy religious sites in the city of Mosul in an effort to eradicate all competing religious groups and their symbols from the city.

On July 24 the Islamic State destroyed the Nabi Yunus Mosque, which had housed the Tomb of Jonah, after destroying the tomb itself earlier this month. Islamic State fighters wired the mosque with explosives and detonated the religious site in broad daylight.

Jonah is recognized as a prophet in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and his tomb was visited and revered by members of all three religions.

The imam of Mosul's Arahma mosque said that 23 men who had led protests yesterday against the bombing of the Yunus Mosque were flogged by the terror group.

Yesterday, the Islamic State demolished the mosque of the prophet Seth, a son of Adam and Eve, who is also recognized as an important historical and religious figure by all three religions.

Video of the destruction of the two mosques was published on YouTube by News of Iraq.

The demolition of the two religious sites is the latest in the Islamic State's campaign to destroy tombs and gravesites. More than two dozen religious sites are said to have been destroyed in Mosul since the Islamic State took control of the city on June 10. The Islamic State believes that worshiping at tombs and graves is forbidden in the Koran, and is a form of idol worship.

In early June, the terror group ordered the destruction of all churches in Mosul, and on June 16 a European Union delegation confirmed that the Islamic State had burned down several churches in the city and raped five Iraqi girls.

On July 4, Iraqi News reported that Islamic State fighters had dug up the tomb of the prophet Jonah and destroyed it. According to Ninevah official Zuhair al-Chalabi, the terror group had on that same day "torched 11 churches and monasteries out of 35 scattered across the city of Mosul, and hours later destroyed statues of poets, literary and historical figures of which Mosul has long been proud." Three Sunni clerics who had tried to resist the Islamic State were murdered.

On July 5, the same day that the Islamic State released video of its leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi addressing followers at a historic Mosul mosque, the group released photos documenting its destruction of at least four Sufi or Sunni shrines as well as six Shiite mosques in Nineveh. Residents of Mosul reported that Islamic State fighters also took over both the Chaldean and the Syrian Orthodox cathedrals in the city, replacing crosses in the two sanctuaries with the terror group's black flag.

Four days later, video appeared on YouTube showing Islamic State fighters taking a sledgehammer to the tomb of Jonah in Mosul.

The Islamic State isn't the first jihadist group to act in such a manner. In 2001, the Taliban blew up the ancient Buddhas of Bamyan in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al Qaeda's branch in Yemen, destroyed tombs and graves when it took control of areas of southern Yemen in 2011. And al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and its two affiliates, Ansar Dine and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, razed religious sites, tombs, and a historical library after seizing control of northern Mali in 2012.

The Islamic State has sought to impose its will on Mosul since taking control of the city last month. First, the group announced that it would impose sharia, or Islamic law, and ordered women to cover themselves.

Last week, the Islamic State issued an ultimatum to Christians in Mosul. Christians were given a choice to convert to Islam, remain in the city and pay a tax; leave the city; or be killed. Almost all of the Christians in Mosul, numbering in the thousands, are reported to have left the city. Many have sought refuge in areas controlled by Kurdish forces. It is widely reported that Islamic State fighters have robbed fleeing Christians of their cash, jewelry, and other possessions as well as taken over their houses.

Mosul, a city where Christians have lived for nearly 2,000 years and which was formerly home to the highest concentration of Christians in Iraq, is now virtually empty of them.



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READER COMMENTS: "Islamic State destroys tombs, mosques in Mosul"

Posted by Birbal Dhar at July 26, 2014 4:08 PM ET:

First they came for the Baathists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Baathist.
Then they came for the Shias, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Shia.
Then they came for the Christians, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Christian.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Posted by S B Lewis at July 26, 2014 5:41 PM ET:

Psychotics can be very dangerous. The violent psychotic Sunni religious fanatic thinks himself rational. Religious fanatics dot the landscape these days. Some would argue that all religious fanatics are psychotic. Well, not all. The subgroup that are simply kill and maim those that attract their opprobrium. Many do. Such killing is psychotic by definition. Of fanatics, we've all got our share. But there are peaceful fanatics. Some pray all day. Aristotle counseled moderation. But who reads Aristotle?

In Gaza the fanatic hides near the sane. He puts all at risk. Many die as Israel is blamed.

This is a strategy where all lose.

Posted by Gerry301 at July 26, 2014 11:03 PM ET:

Waiting for Chris Wallace on 60 minutes to proclaim this an atrocity. Abu Graibe apparently was, this is just business as usual. Nothing to report here.

Posted by James at July 27, 2014 12:29 AM ET:

We are seeing Ray Bradbury's novel 'Fahrenheit 451' come true right before our very eyes.

Shame on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter for allowing themselves to be the servants, promoters and servers of such venomous and appalling hatred.

Posted by James at July 27, 2014 11:52 PM ET:

Are those of you that posted on these message boards over and over again that we should not assist the moderate Syrian resistance willing to admit how wrong you were?

Had we assisted the moderates in Syria in a timely and effective manner, the misery that we are seeing occur in Iraq right now would have never happened. Of course, thanks to our lack of action, they may well all be dead now.

What appalls me about this current sad state of affairs is that it could have been so easily avoided. You all kept chiming about the possibility of weapons falling into terrorist hands. My God, look at the weapons they have now!

They didn't come from the Syrian resistance. No, they came from the previous administration's foolishness in propping up what has turned out to be nothing but a scarecrow army (i.e., Maliki's Iraq); an administration that couldn't even get bin laden.

Me and just a few other posters on these boards kept saying over and over again that we should be helping the moderate Syrian resistance, sadly to no avail. It may well be too late now. As I see it now, all we can do now is to try to contain the carnage the best we possibly can.

Long ago, I posted the rhetorical question of: Who's going to be the 'Good Samaritan' for the moderate Syrian resistance? Is it going to US, or are we going to allow it to be Al Qaeda? Sadly, you've all allowed it to become Al Qaeda!

Posted by Paul at July 28, 2014 12:40 AM ET:

Bring out the warthogs & get rid of the killers & rapists.

Posted by Eric Sykes at July 28, 2014 9:15 AM ET:

We're gonna have to go back into Iraq, it's inevitable. May as well start ratcheting up recruitment into the armed services. Whats happening there is an offshoot of U.S. actions in the region after all. May as well face it.

Posted by Marcus at July 28, 2014 9:25 AM ET:

Chris Wallace is well within his right of ignoring events in Mosul.

Doncha ya know being made to parade naked, have underwear on your head and making human pyramids is much worse than being raped, being killed, becoming a refugee or forced to live forever under another religion?

/sarc off

The former is humiliating and temporary, but the latter is forever.

Posted by Evan at July 29, 2014 4:09 AM ET:

James, I call b.s. man....seriously though, what "moderate," Syrian fighting force are you referring to? Where are they? Who are they? The al Nusra affiliated FSA? No, we should NOT arm them, or anyone else in that theater.
That's just flat out barking up the wrong tree, and it would require a great deal of risk and planning not to mention money....all of which has been argued here extensively.....as well as the fact that arming groups of so called freedom fighters is what got us into the last 13 year war.

Maybe, and just maybe, a group, possibly battalion sized, highly vetted, highly trained individuals of Syrian descent could be brought into play under specific circumstances to act as force multipliers, but the only way to make that work would be with air support, CAS, and helos for infil, exfil.

if it makes you feel any better James, the us is currently flying approx 50 sorties a day, or 50 flights by 50 planes on either separate or the same missions, which right now is defined as collecting intel.

The best thing that we could do to stop this kind of thing near immediately, which the US does have the power, means and reach to accomplish, would probably be a devastating series of drone strikes, that surgically decapitated IS to some degree and was then immediately followed up with strikes on IS positions and convoys to scatter the roaches.

Until that happens, we won't stop hearing about IS atrocities.

Posted by Sandman at July 29, 2014 9:31 AM ET:

Serious question here. Who is funding and arming ISIS and their ilk in Syria (Al Nusra etc.)? The Saudis? Are they that short-sighted? Qatar, and same question? Private funding? If so, where are the weapons coming from?