[이미지 제공=대한민국청소년기자단 3기 정채현 기자, c대한민국청소년기자단]
<ISIS' cultural atrocities in the Middle East>
Throughout history, cultural heritage sites were meant to be preserved since they are precious symbols of tradition, religion, and memories of the past. However, these treasures are under threat by the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). The ISIS destroyed over thousands of sculptures, artifacts, and intellectual materials.
In May 2015, ISIS took over Palmyra, an archaeological city located in the central part of Syria. Cultural artifacts including ‘the Lion of al-Lat’ vanished. Khalid al-Assad, Palmyra’s retired chief of antiquities was publically beheaded because he refused to reveal the locations of cultural artifacts.
The question is: Why is the ISIS doing this? Is this really reflective of Islamic beliefs?
The main reason why ISIS is committing such inhumane crimes is to generate fear globally. It frightens the world by showing its impunity to the customs of the international community. In addition, the ISIS pursues illegal trade on cultural assets to earn money. Analysts assume that it has made $36 million dollars until now.
ISIS is being iconoclastic and claims that it is doing what Muhammad is telling them to do. However, the Qur’an says the opposite. Here are two phrases from the Qur’an about preserving cultural heritage:
“And if Allah did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated…”
“And if anyone of the idolaters ask protection of thee, grant him protection so that he may hear the word of Allah; then convey him to his place of security…”
These two phrases show the attitudes Muslims are to have towards the cultural properties: worship and respect. Thus, the ISIS’s actions are unjustifiable on religious grounds.
ISIS has already destroyed numerous temples, and other cultural assets including the Temple of Baalshamin, Temple of Baal, the Statue of Athena at the Palmyra Museum, etc. However, as Irina Georgieva Bokova, the secretary general of UNESCO said, there are no means to stop them, so antiquity trafficking must be prevented first.
[대한민국청소년기자단 3기= 국제부 정채현 기자]