Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Destruction facilitates subjugation.

The recent occupation of Timbuktu by Islamists and their destruction of invaluable cultural artifacts has brought to light the controversial Islamic practice of cultural vandalism. Why they do this is no mystery, even if it is poorly understood by outsiders.

A cellphone captures the image of an Islamist fighter during the destruction of Timbuktu's treasures.

A cellphone captures the image of an Islamist fighter during the destruction of Timbuktu's treasures.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Islam, Taliban, artifacts, Timbuktu, priceless, destroy, pyramids, extremists


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Taliban Islamists notoriously destroyed two statues of the Buddha in Afghanistan, despite pleas to spare them for their cultural value. More recently, extremists looted the city of Timbuktu and destroyed the fabled "End of the World" gate in that city as well as thousands of historical manuscripts.

They have also called for the destruction of the pyramids, 5,000 year-old structures that were considered ancient, even in the time of Christ.

Why do they do this?

First, it should be understood that this is not a mainstream Islamic practice. The vast majority of Muslims are tolerant of such artifacts and have as great a respect for them as anyone else. These singular acts of historical vandalism are presently unique to Islamic extremists who feel they represent a form of idolatry and superstition.

Second, the destruction of such artifacts is nothing new. History has shows that many cultures, even from ancient times, have destroyed precious artifacts belonging to their opposition. In ancient times, the burning of temples and the destruction of statues were ways of showing that false gods had no power to defend their shrines, nor their people. It was a way of bringing people into submission.

In the 6th century, Pope Gregory ordered the destruction of many ancient Greek and Roman statues, which is why today those that survive are missing arms and other features.

It was Christians who burned the Great Library at Alexandria and murdered Hypatia in 415 A.D., one of the greatest mathematicians the world has known, and also a woman.

During the Protestant Reformation protestants systematically destroyed many Catholic artifacts, whitewashing famous murals on cathedral walls, among other things.

None of these practices are unique to Islam.

Many are unaware that the same Islamists have also destroyed cultural sites associated with the Prophet Muhammad, fearing that people would become more devoted to the memory of Muhammad than Allah.

This is part of the motivation. Strictly interpreting Koranic verses to condemn idols of any kind, Islamic fundamentalists seek to cleanse the world of idols. Added to this is the desire to impose Islam on others, by whatever means necessary.

While this is not a mainstream movement, it is understandable in a religious context.

However, the cultural cost of their depredations is so great that it cannot be measured in dollars. If given the opportunity, these extremists would destroy the pyramids of Egypt, and every other cultural site that offends a cleric in some way.

Perhaps this is as good a reason as any to resist their efforts to exert control over wider swaths of people and territory.

Few Christians today would endorse the actions of Pope Gregory, or of those who burned the Great Library of Alexandria and murdered Hypatia. One would be hard pressed to find the Christian who agrees with the crusader's sack of Jerusalem in the First Crusade, or the whitewashing of priceless Catholic artworks during the reformation.

If Islamists wish to follow their fundamentalist beliefs in the security of their desert kingdoms, who are we to tell them they cannot? However, when they leave these enclaves and attempt to impose their beliefs by force, destroying the world's cultural heritage in the process, we have a duty to our ancestors and their legacy to say no.

The world should do all it can to ensure that Timbuktu is the last act of destruction on the part of such people, no matter what their religious beliefs may be. Such a crime is a crime against all humanity and it cries for prosecution.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for August 2014
Refugees:
That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.
Oceania: That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.



Comments


More Middle East

Kurds promise to protect Christians 'until the last drop of blood!' Watch

Image of Iraqi Kurdish fighters have been engaged in fighting with the Islamic State since the beginning of this month. During a meeting with heads of the Catholic Church, Kurdish officials swore to protect Christians in Kurdistan.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A delegation of senior members of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches visited Irbil, Iraq, in order to show their support and solidarity with the more than 100,000 Christians and minorities who have been displaced due to the ongoing conquests of the Islamic State. ... continue reading


TERROR JOINS FORCES: Yemeni al-Qaeda ends solidarity to IS in Iraq Watch

Image of A screenshot from an AQAP propaganda video apparently shows the Yemen-based terrorist group's leader, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, addressing fighters.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Evil minds think alike, as two of the world's most deadly terrorist organizations have apparently joined forces in the tumult facing Iraq. The Yemen branch of al-Qaeda has given a "shout out" to Islamic State, who have been busy waging their war of terror in ... continue reading


Why do Muslims like beheading so much? (WARNING GRAPHIC, RAW IMAGES)

Image of Muslim terrorists prefer beheading as the latest way to grab headlines. Here, a terrorist prepared to saw off the head of American journalist, James Foley.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The incredible spate of beheadings which are perpetrated by Islamic militants around the world had many asking the question, "Why do Muslims behead so many people?" In the modern age, there are swift and almost bloodless ways to kill, which makes the use of beheading ... continue reading


ISIS terrorists back down before elderly Christians who mock them and refuse to convert! Watch

Image of One of the eleven elderly Iraqi Christians who refused to convert to Islam, even after threats of beheading, now safe inside a refugee camp in Kurdish controlled territory.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Eleven sick and disabled, elderly Iraqi Christians said they preferred death to giving up their faith, defying militants from the Islamic State who demanded that they convert to Islam or be beheaded. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The show of Christian ... continue reading


Islamic State beheads journalist James Foley (WARNING, GRAPHIC VIDEO)

Image of James Foley a moment before his gruesome beheading.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has beheaded journalist James Foley. You may watch the video here, but be warned, it is graphic. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - American freelance journalist James Foley has been beheaded by the Islamic State. He was 40. Following a statement ... continue reading


How far will they go? Islamic State kills an entire village because one man refused... Watch

Image of A Yazidi woman cries in a refugee camp where most of her surviving people now live.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A story has emerged about how the Islamic State killed as many as 600 people because of the defiance of just one elderly man.  The tale shows how far the Islamic State will go to force its beliefs on the rest of the world. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Last ... continue reading


WARNING TO WEST: Archeparch of Mosul says Western Christians will soon fall prey to persecution Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The exiled Chaldean Archeparch of Mosul, Amel Nona has some stern words of warning to those in the West, who think that the persecutions of Iraq "can't happen" where they are. "Our sufferings are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will ... continue reading


Wedding rings cut off fingers, bibles burned. Chaldean Catholics Remain Faithful

Image of Chaldean Catholics have lost everything, including their religious artifacts.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you have followed the horrifying stories of Christians in Iraq, you know that these peaceful people have been deprived of literally everything. They have not simply lost businesses, homes and cars, but also their money, their personal effects, literally everything ... continue reading


Taking the fight to the Islamic State! Following U.S. airstrikes, Iraqi and Kurdish fighters seize Mosul dam Watch

Image of Fighters from the Islamic State, which has recently suffered a severe setback due to a combined offensive between Iraqi, Kurdish and U.S. forces.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Following several days of U.S. airstrikes and battles with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the Islamic State has taken to the web to threaten the U.S. and any other potential threat. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The terrorist group posted a video on YouTube-which ... continue reading


Gaza cease-fire gains a 1 day extension as Israelis and Palestinians try to make a lasting peace Watch

Image of An Israeli missile explodes in Gaza. Israeli has regulated most of their action to destroying Hamas' arsenal of rockets and secret tunnels.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After nearly a month of off and on violence, Israeli and Palestinian authorities have agreed to extend the current Gaza cease-fire by 24 hours, which will now end at 5 p.m. on August 19. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Israeli and Palestinian officials both ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 37:1-14
1 The hand of Yahweh was on me; he carried me away by ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 107:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
2 So let them say whom Yahweh redeemed, whom he ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 22:34-40
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Andrew the Scot
August 22: Archdeacon and companion of St. Donatus. Andrew and his sister, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter