Islamic State Continues Cultural Genocide in Iraq

A video still depicting the destruction of the Meme Reshan Shrine in Sinjar, Iraq Photo: Conflict Antiquities

Islamic State militants advancing on Mount Sinjar in Iraq have continued their campaign of destroying Shia muslim shrines and those of other religious sects, Conflict Antiquities has reported. This, while other militants continue their siege of Kobane on the Turkish-Syrian border.

Reports surfaced on October 23 that IS militants destroyed the Shia Shrine of Imam al-Daur. Aside from its religious significance, the mausoleum, which was constructed in 1085, featured a unique muqarnas dome. It was the first of its kind and represented an important archaeological innovation at the time. The destruction of the site was condemned by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

Conflict Antiquities also reported the destruction of the Yazidi Shrine of Meme Reshan, claiming the wrecking of the shrine is evidence that “Islamic state is continuing its program of genocide” against Yazidis and Kurds.

According to the Washington Post Yazidis, who practice a “unique, syncretic faith” have been brutally targeted by IS due to their polytheist beliefs. Yazidi volunteer fighters who have been protecting the area for several months have been forced to flee their homes, retreating towards the mountains, forcing them to leave their shrines behind to be picked off by IS militants.

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