ISIS destroys ‘Jonah’s tomb’ in Mosul-AlArabiya.net
Staff writer, Al Arabiya News
Thursday, 24 July 2014
The radical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group has destroyed shrines belonging to two prophets, highly revered by both Christians and Muslims, in the northern city of Mosul, al-Sumaria News reported Thursday.
“ISIS militants have destroyed the Prophet Younis (Jonah) shrine east of Mosul city after they seized control of the mosque completely,” a security source, who kept his identity anonymous, told the Iraq-based al-Sumaria News.
“The militants closed all of the mosque doors and prevented worshipers from entering to pray,” the source said.
A witness who did not wish to give his name said that ISIS militants “first stopped people from praying in it, they fixed explosive charges around and inside it and then blew it up in front of a large gathering of people,” according to Agence France-Presse.
An endowment official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and Mosul residents told AFP it took the Sunni extremists an hour to rig the shrine with explosives.
The endowment official said the Islamic State jihadist group that overran large swathes of northern and western Iraq last month have now destroyed or damaged 30 shrines, as well as 15 husseiniyas and mosques in and around Mosul.
“But the worst destruction was of Nabi Yunus, which has been turned to dust,” he said, according to AFP.
In the Quran and the Bible, Prophet Jonah is famous for being swallowed by a fish. Dating back to the 8th century BC, Jonah is believed to be buried in Mosul and his tomb also a mosque is considered to be one of the few historic mosques found on the eastern side of the city.
Meanwhile, a local Mosul official, Zuhair al-Chalabi, told al-Sumaria News on Thursday that Prophet Daniel’s tomb was also destroyed. While Daniel is considered to be a prophet by Muslims, he is not mentioned in the Quran.
“ISIS implanted explosives around Prophet Daniel’s tomb in Mosul and blasted it, leading to its destruction,” he told Al-Sumaria News.
”Mosul is living in an extremely hard and horrible situation,” Chalabi warned.
Another source told al-Sumaria News that ISIS militants destroyed another shrine belonging to Imam Abu al-Ila in Mosul after implanting explosives in the circumference of the place. The source also said that a mosque in Mosul’s al-Faisaliya district was bombed in addition to a Shiite mosque, or Hussainiya called Fatima al-Zahra was also destroyed.
“Unidentified militants bombed Abu al-Ila tomb located in central Bab al-Jadeed area south of Mousl,” Iraq Press Agency quoted witnesses as saying Thursday, leaving “residential homes around the tomb severely damaged.”
On Wednesday, a security source told al-Sumaria News that ISIS has demolished tomb of another revered Imam Yahya Abu al-Qassem.
Early July, ISIS made headlines when its militants demolished ancient shrines and mosques in and around Mosul.
At least four shrines of Sunni Arab or Sufi figures have been demolished, while six Hussainiyas have also been destroyed.
Islamic State destroys sacred shrine in Mosul – Al- Monitor.com
The Islamic State (IS) bombed and destroyed the tomb of the Prophet Jonah east of Mosul on July 24.
Previously, IS had carried out numerous bombings, destroying important cultural sites such as the shrine of the Prophet Daniel west of Mosul, the shrine of one of the grandchildren of the second Caliph Omar Bin al-Khattab, as well as mosques, various shrines and numerous other churches. These sites are not only for Shiite Muslims or non-Muslims. Most of them are sacred places for Sunni Muslims as well, and some are even only affiliated with them, in addition to a significant number of statues of famous figures and other cultural sites that also were destroyed.
Sources inside the city confirmed this information to Al-Monitor. Activists on social media networks uploaded pictures and several videos showing the magnitude of the destruction of cultural sites around the city. Sources told Al-Monitor that a state of sorrow and regret reigns in the city and that they have seen plenty of people crying while witnessing the destruction of Jonah’s tomb. Jonah is considered sacred by all Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
What these groups are doing is based on an endemic Salafist principle common to most Salafist movements, whether they are jihadists or not. This principle underlines the need to purify the earth of polytheism and disbelief. These groups consider religious shrines or any other sites related to a certain person to be a kind of sanctification, which is, according to them, a true sign of polytheism.
The destruction of these sites is part of the process of returning to the authentic Islam and eliminating all alien elements, according to the Salafist understanding. This contradicts the traditional understanding of Islam by all Muslim confessions, which means that Islam does not contradict other sanctities, but rather understands them and considers them sacred, especially when the people of these sacred places are prophets of the Quran, such as the prophets Jonah and Daniel and many others from both the New and Old Testaments.
The tomb of the Prophet Jonah before its destruction. (Twitter/@IraqPics)
Therefore, international Muslim figures, such as the mufti of Egypt, condemned the destruction of sacred places by IS. The mufti also called for an urgent intervention from the authorities in Iraq and international organizations such as UNESCO to protect these sacred places.
The destruction of sacred places also happened during the establishment of Saudi Arabia, which was described as the first political entity for Salafists in the Islamic world. Hundreds of shrines of the prophet’s companions and family have been destroyed, in addition to other important historical sites related to different eras of Islamic history, from the establishment of the first and second Saudi states until this day. These actions also occurred in Afghanistan, Syria and certain areas in Iraq that fell under the control of Salafist groups.
IS threatened to continue the process of destroying sacred places of other confessions and religions, as well as others related to Sunnis. These threats raised the concerns of most Iraqis, especially the Shiites and the religious minorities, in addition to Sunnis who share the same respect and sanctification for these shrines and religious places.
It’s mandatory for the international organizations concerned about human rights and preserving religious freedom and heritage, specifically UNESCO, to work harder and on a larger scale to put an end to this destruction. This is essential since a large number of these places are sanctified and respected by Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The concerns about the destruction of sacred places are not limited to them being historic and cultural sites; they include forgiveness and coexistence between different religions and confessions in Iraq. Such destruction harms the long history of coexistence among Iraqi religions. It targets the symbols and main sites which attracted and gathered all confessions and paved the path for communication and understanding, and thus, their coexistence.
It also heightens intolerance and religious hatred and hostility between different confessions. This usually does not quickly fade away, and could create social divisions and demographic subdivisions on a large scale across Iraq. This could eliminate any sort of communication between the various elements of society and create severe conflicts between them.
Iraq is heading toward total destruction of its historic and human heritage, which will turn it into a barren desert isolated from its time-honored cultural and religious history. This is taking place in light of chaotic circumstances involving terrorism that is on the offensive, Iraqi government ignorance, global silence and an international letdown — specifically from the United States, which completely abandoned its responsibilities toward the situation in Iraq.