September 1, 2014

Something else Yezidi has been destroyed. It may have been the shrine of Sheikh Sin.

The Êzidî Press (@EzidiPress) has released another video of a ruined religious site. ‘Yezidi holy place/sacred site Quba Sheikhsin destroyed by IS terrorists. [Von IS-Terroristen zerstörte êzîdîsche Heiligenstätte Quba Sheikhsin.]‘
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September 1, 2014

Something Yezidi has been destroyed. It may have been the Shrine of Sheikh Mikhfiya and its cemetery.

The Êzidî Press (@EzidiPress) has released a video of a ruined religious site (which others have shared). ‘Yezidi pilgrimage site destroyed by IS terrorists. Even the cemetery found behind it was largely destroyed. At the shrine, which is in Cegara village, is located the holy place/sacred site of Sheikh Mikhfiya. [Von den IS-Terroristen zerstörte êzîdîsche Pilgerstätte. Auch der sich dahinter befindliche Friedhof wurde größtenteils zerstört. Bei der Pilgerstätte handelt es sich um die im Dorf Cegara gelegene Heiligenstätte des Sheikh Mikhfiya.]‘ (My translation is not perfect, but the basic information is fairly secure.)
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August 31, 2014

Are ‘unheard of numbers’ of cultural goods from Syria and Iraq making their way into auction houses in the UK?

Buzzfeed journalist Sheera Frenkel has extended the continuing analysis of How ISIS Became the Richest Terrorist Group in the World. I’m concerned that some unevidenced claims are becoming received wisdom, and that Frenkel’s informants are contributing to that.
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August 26, 2014

Militants have bombed the Shrine of Sufi Sheikh Taqi Baba, Mastung, Balochistan, Pakistan

This is just a note. Dawn journalist Syed Ali Shah has relayed police official Nazeer Ahmed’s information: unidentified militants have ‘planted explosives inside’ and ‘completely destroyed’ the Sufi Shrine of Sheikh Taqi Baba.
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August 25, 2014

‘We have not started a sectarian war’… but ‘we should have burned’ that mosque.

Journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad has reported from the front line between the Islamic State and the Iraqi state. Shia militias are defending their territory and reclaiming Sunni places for the Iraqi state – or simply claiming those places for themselves.
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August 25, 2014

Islamists and anti-government conspiracy theorists do exploit my work, but they’re not very good at it

Previously, I’ve warned Islamists, ‘do not try to use my research for your propaganda: the Islamic State’s bigotry and violence is all too real’. Appropriately enough, left-wing and right-wing, anti-Anglo-American or anti-government conspiracy theorists ignore that too. I can’t do much to stop them exploiting my work, but I can point out that they’re not very good at it. After all, I’ve found out that they’re doing it because their target audiences have actually followed their links and read my work for themselves.
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August 24, 2014

The Yezidi shrine of Shaqsebat in Babire (Iraq) appears to have been destroyed, but it is difficult to tell from the evidence

It appears, from photographic evidence in the Êzîdî Press, that the Islamic State (1) has destroyed another regional pilgrimage site, the shrine of Shaqsebat in the five-village community of Babire in the region of Sheikhan [Sinjar (2)] [Sheikhan/Shaikhan (4)], north of Tel Kayf, near Mosul [in Ninawa Governorate].
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August 23, 2014

You had me at ‘pretty much anything’

I did comment on the Centre for Law and Religion Forum, in an attempt to end any confusion over a Washington Post article, but the misunderstanding spread to Think Progress and a lot of small community sites, and work distracted me before I could make a(n undoubtedly ineffectual) comment here. To save anyone reading the rest of this painful nitpicking, when the Washington Post asked me what the Islamic State might destroy next, it had me at ‘pretty much anything’.
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August 18, 2014

The lure of antiquities in the New York Times and the trap of poor evidence in war zones

The New York Times has explored the lure of antiquities. I don’t want the evidence to be misunderstood.

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August 17, 2014

Khums: an un-Islamic tax for an Islamic antiquities market?

Before I say anything else, I want to reaffirm that it’s very difficult to get good evidence – some evidence is unreliable, some evidence is false – but it’s still very clear: everybody’s involved somehowAssadist forces, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) (the secularist, democratic men-with-guns), Islamist/jihadist militias, seemingly even foreign militaries (as well as, of course, non-combatant mafias). The only armed groups for whom I’ve seen no evidence are the Kurdish defence forces.

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