When I reported the destruction of Sheikh Mohammed Ali’s tomb, I excluded photos of another site that I had not identified. The second “landmark of polytheism” was the tomb of Nizar Abu Bahaaeddine, which is – or was – by an oasis outside Palmyra.
The Assad regime is bombing civilians in and around mosques
And, as Sanna Aro-Valjus reminded, Islamic shrines are not only destroyed by the Islamic State. Suomi Syyria Yhteisö Ry shared a video of the Mosque of Saad al-Ansari in Hayy al-Ansari near Aleppo, which was wrecked through barrel-bombing by a regime helicopter, which killed tens and injured tens more. While I was writing this, the Shaam News Network relayed information from the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) that another regime barrel bomb had killed three people, and evidence that it had wrecked al Westani Mosque, in al Hbait (or Hobait) town in Idlib province.
The Islamic State is committing programmatic religious cleansing of Islamic heritage
So many people are being harmed and so many places are being ruined that it is impossible to keep track. Antiquities director Mamoun Abdulkarim records that the Islamic State alone has destroyed ‘at least 50 mausoleums dating between 100-200 years old in the regions under its control in north and east Syria’ alone. So I want to focus on something else.
How does destroying buildings save children?
As all of this news was coming out, Hyperallergic editor Hrag Vartanian highlighted the Islamic State’s destruction of the Monastery of Mar Behnam, which was under-reported but has now been discussed in depth by ancient Near Eastern historian Christopher Jones. An Islamist, who is apparently not a member of Islamic State, does not speak Arabic and listens to Shaykh Hazimi, reacted.
Ridvan Ridvan decried, ‘[you] sick bastard[,] kids are getting burned [and you’re] crying for some stupid architecture‘. I responded: “We mourn people first and always. How does destroying buildings help those kids?” He did not say. But it’s something that Islamists should consider (and answer), because kids are getting burned, innocent people are being maimed and killed.
“And give the relative his right, and [also] the poor and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully.” (Surat al-Isra 17:26)
“They ask you, [Muhammad], what they should spend. Say, ‘Whatever you spend of good is for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy and the traveler. And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah is knowing of it.'” (Surat al-Baqarah 2:215)
“Those who give to charity night and day, secretly and publicly, receive their recompense from their Lord; they will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.” (Surat al-Baqarah 2:274)
Even if Islamists have paid the charity tax of zakat, is it not still wasteful to invest in destruction rather than welfare?
Every single act of destruction consumes resources – time, energy, money and materials – that could have been devoted to helping those kids or other people who are suffering. Perhaps Islamists shouldn’t support people who claim to be doing God’s work but leave children in pain in order to go off and play with fireworks.
Ridvan Ridvan @tawheed28
Tomb of Nizar Abu Bahaaeddine, Tadmur, Homs, Syria
Mosque of Saad al-Ansari, Hayy al-Ansari, Aleppo, Syria
al-Westani Mosque, al-Hbait, Idlib, Syria