A Look at the Full Scope of ISIS's Destruction of Cultural Heritage Sites

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tags: ISIS, ISIL, Ancient Artifacts, Cultural Heritage Sites

In 2014, the militant group calling themselves the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria began destroying cultural heritage sites and artifacts—mosques and shrines, churches, and ancient and medieval monuments—in Libya, Syria, and Iraq, using bulldozers and explosives. Pre-Islamic, Islamic, early Christian, and Yazidi sites have all been annihilated, as ISIS claims they all represent “an erroneous form of creativity, contradicting the basics of sharia.” Yet, there has been evidence of looting. The Huffington Post reported this week that ISIS has been making millions on the black market, trading artifacts. In the most high-profile example to date, the FBI recently launched an investigation into the owners of Hobby Lobby for the alleged illegal possession of cuneiform tablets.

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