The beautiful, historic shrines that Islamists try to destroy

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tags: Taliban, Islamist, historic shrines

News emerged last week that among their various outrages, militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant had destroyed the Tomb of Jonah in the city of Mosul, a biblical site holy to Christians and Muslims alike, which the jihadists ''turned to dust'', according to an Iraqi official. The militants espouse a radical, puritanical strain of Sunni Islam whereby all shrines or holy sites that honour beings lesser than their God are considered apostate.

The Taliban in Afghanistan set the tone when they pulverised the ancient towering statues of the Buddha in Bamiyan in 2001. ''Muslims should be proud of smashing idols,'' the militants' leader, Mohammad Omar, said at the time. ''It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them.''

In recent years, fundamentalist Islamists with similar Salafist stripes to ISIL, which recently changed its name to the Islamic State when it declared a ''caliphate'', have attacked tombs and defiled shrines from South Asia to Africa. Here is a sampling of their destruction.

Read entire article at The Sydney Morning Herald

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