With the ISIS jihadists turning increasingly violent day – by – day, it has been a problem for the people of Iraq and Syria to protect their identity and heritage. Starting from women and child trafficking to sexual slavery, IS jihadists have done it all.
It is common knowledge that the ISIS jihadists treat other religions as something of less importance. However, recently, the ISIS militants have taken their fury on the opposing religious monuments and the shrines which are considered to be heritage by UNESCO.
Qais Hussain Rashid, director of Iraqi Museums was found speaking about the atrocities of IS jihadists on the monuments.
“They cut these reliefs and sell them to criminals and antique dealers,” he said, gesturing toward an ornate carving dating back to centuries. “Usually they cut off the head, leaving the legs, because the head is the valuable part.”
Rashid is particularly afraid of the monuments that are present in the captured city of Hatra. Established by the successor of Alexander the Great, Hatra carries a rich cultural heritage and has been known to withstand the Roman and the Persian Empire. With large number of architectural structures and thick heritage, the city reflects its own history and culture.
“There are palaces, temples and statues there, and ISIS is living among them,” Rashid said. “I’m afraid they’ll do something crazy there.”
The ISIS militants have also taken over the Mosul museum and have turned it into an office to collect the Jaziya tax, a tax which is levied on the non – Muslim population.
The Cultural agency of the UN has been alarmed at the news of such atrocities. UNESCO has said that the preservation of the Iraqi heritage in Hatra and other cities and museums will play a major role in ensuring undisrupted peace in the future.
“Protecting the lives of people, their cultural heritage and identity go hand in hand,” the agency’s director general, Irina Bokova, said. She also mentioned that UNESCO will mobilize the UN “and the whole international community to safeguard Iraq’s cultural heritage with particular emphasis on the fight against illicit trafficking in cultural property.”
However, as the war is on, little can be done in the present scenario. Hence, the UN cannot take active steps to prevent the ruining of the age-old artifacts.
Although the city has withstood the barbarian attack of the Mongols, Rashid is not sure that it will survive the attack of ISIS militants.
“They are people from another planet,” he says. “They take pride in nothing. Their mentality is completely petrified. They don’t think of all this as the accomplishments of humanity.”