UNESCO, the UN body which oversees global historical and cultural landmarks confirmed today that the historic Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, Iraq had been completely destroyed. Allied forces were converging on ISIS positions near the Mosque when the edifice exploded. ISIS officials claimed that the Mosque was bombed by the USAF, which the Pentagon denied.
Iraqi Lt. General Abdul Yarallah reported from the Front that Iraqi regulars and auxiliaries of an Iraqi Christian Militia were about 60 yards from the ISIS perimeter when the explosion occurred and that no aircraft were present. Video footage also shows tthat the explosions took place at ground level. It's fairly obvious that ISIS destroyed the shrine intentionally.
ISIS' actions here should put to rest the argument that's spread about by Western pundits that the Jihadists represent 'real Islam'. The Wahhabi and Salafist sects that preach this doctrine are regarded as cults by both Shiite and Sunni leaders. This isn't even the first instance of ISIS desecrating buildings or other artifacts considered sacred by Moslems. Iraqi sappers have found and displayed copies of the Koran which were rigged with booby-traps designed to kill unsuspecting worshippers. The destruction of the Mosque also occurred during the Islamic holy season of Ramadan.
When Syrian President Assad offered an amnesty last year, several ISIS soldiers deserted to the Syrian Army. The stories these men told were familiar to those of us in Western countries who've dealt with cults and extremist groups. The ex-soldiers stated that they were recruited by the Jihadists with promises of becoming a hero and warrior in the cause of saving Islam; only to find that they were being used by their leaders who were mostly a gang of criminals, cowards, and perverts. Some who'd served behind the ISIS lines recounted that the ISIS commanders privately sneered at traditional Islam and freely engaged in the most impious acts. Some pointed out that ISIS leaders regularly had drunken orgies with female (and sometimes young male) prisoners whom they raped; and to escape detection, these officers committed these acts inside of Mosques. One soldier stated that he denounced some of these offenses to his superior and was threatened with punishment unless he kept quiet. The cultish patterns displayed here are quite evident.
The Al-Nuri Mosque was constructed in 1172 and was famous for its leaning minaret.
Local superstition held that the angel of the Prophet Mohammad once hovered over the minaret and the structure bowed to him, causing it to lean permanently. The above photograph is from 1932, the year when Iraq gained its independence and became a popular tourist destination. Thanks to ISIS, the scene now looks like this:
Such is the sort of 'progress' which fanaticism and extremism produces in any culture.