Historian: There Is a Lot Of Exhibitionism In ISIS Destroying the Cultural Treasures


The members “The Islamic State” terrorist group (ISIS) continue spreading the scandalous videos in the Internet, featuring the terrorists destructing the ancient monuments. It is known that the Islamists had already leveled to the ground the ruins of the ancient cities of Hatra and Nimrud in Iraq, and now are looking at the Pyramids in Egypt. Why are the militants destroying the ancient monuments? What harms does it make to human civilization and how long will this continue? This questions of KRYNICA.INFO were answered by Belarusian historian, Belarusian State University’s Department of History associate professor Yauhen Krasulin.

– Pr. Krasulin, why are the Islamists so aggressive towards the ancient monuments?

– There is a lot exhibitionism in the destruction of cultural treasures: ISIS just wants to get more attention.

According to some sources, the terrible public executions, by which the terrorists tried to “popularize” themselves, were fake. Then the militants began the destruction of culture objects. By the way, it seems that the first footage of that source was also fake.

For instance, the terrorists spread the news of the partial destruction of the walls of Nineveh. Later the archeologists stated that it was not true. I think that the destruction of several relics in museums was staged. It is possible that not the originals were destroyed but the copies.

Later, realizing that they did not achieve a desirable effect, the ISIS militants began real destruction.

The destruction of cultural treasures by ISIS terrorists has also a historical background because Islam calls the believers not to create the idols, neither spiritual nor material ones. This belief is also shared not only among the ISIS militants… For example, in Saudi Arabia a proposal is periodically maid to destroy the grave of Prophet Muhammad. People demand it not because of being uncivilized but because of their beliefs.

– But the ISIS militants’ actions can hardly be described as a behaviour of the believers of any confession…

– It is hardly to associate the ISIS adherents with Islam at all. Simply speaking, they are “boneheads” united into a group with the unknown goals. They brought many temptations, among them the destruction of monuments. Look, they say, according to the testament of Allah we make people free of idols and material bounds. But in reality this deeds Koran, as well as the homicides commited by them. Islam strictly prohibits killing the prisoners, not talking about the militant’s methods.

By destruction of the monuments the Islamists try to impress weak people, because we see that Muslims never tried to deprive the humanity of material values. There were cases when on the captured territories Muslims stroke off the noses of the sculptures, which is connected with Islamic prohibition of creating the image of man. As the conquerors understood it, after this operation those sculptures were not images of men anymore. The monuments were never fully destroyed, moreover, the Islamic civilization enriched with many spiritual and material masterpieces.

– Recently, ISIS had stated its intention to destroy the Pyramids. How long will these humiliation of world culture go on?

The main goal of the Islamist group is to draw public attention to its activities, cause, so to say, a shock. The militants understand well that if they continue the same actions the effect will wear off. That is why the terrorists will not develop this subject and will think something new. I hope it will not be nuclear explosions.

On the other hand, such resonating actions always draw new followers. There always were and will be herostrates. For example, we all remember how after the Charlie Hebdo shooting several groups tried to repeat the terrorists attacks in France. It is not impossible that some people will be destroying the cultural treasures following in ISIS footsteps. But talking about the museum wxhibits and monuments in tourist areas, they are well guarded. That is why there is no real threat towards the Pyramids, the Sphynx and the Muhammad’s grave.

Looking at this problem in the global context I would like to say that ISIS barbaric behaviour gives us a reason to think the historical monuments are priceless not to everybody.

There are exmples even in Belarus. Many monuments were destroyed and are beying destroyed even now. That is why the shock caused by ISIS actions is caused more by the position of mas  media and by the behaviour of the members of the group.

Problem of destruction of legacy is still not solved for the humanity. For the people who understand that with destruction of the monuments our civilization becomes poorer the loss of historical heritage is very horrible.

Marya Dmitryeva

12.03.2015 Analytics| Tags: , , ,