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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

ISIL’s actions belong to the time before Islam

An Assyrian Christian woman who fled ISIL has taken refuge in the northeastern city of Qamishli. Delil Souleiman / AFP
An Assyrian Christian woman who fled ISIL has taken refuge in the northeastern city of Qamishli. Delil Souleiman / AFP

The war against ISIL goes on and much remains unchanged on the ground, as acts of terror carried out by the organisation have increased in their violence, span and effect. Recently, ISIL militants have abducted and beheaded 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya, destroyed ancient manuscripts in the Mosul Central Library and Assyrian antiquities in the Museum of Mosul, and is now threatening Druze minorities in Syria.

In the Dubai-based daily Al Bayan, Ali Obaid deplored the ransacking of the Mosul museum and the burning of more than 8,000 rare books and manuscripts in the library.

Obaid noted that Mosul residents were unable to keep ISIL’s militants from burning down the library “in a scene reminiscent of the burning of the libraries of Baghdad, Cordoba, Granada and other Islamic cities throughout history”. The extremists’ aim was “to annihilate minds before bodies”, he said.

“The fight against ISIL, its factions and sister terrorist organisations is not a mere military battle by way of fighter jets, rockets and guns, but also an intellectual battle whose weapons are intellect and logic, with schools, mosques, and traditional and modern media as battlefields,” Obaid remarked.

In Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister newspaper of The National, Abdel Wahab Badrakhan wrote that, within a few months, ISIL had brought life back to pre-historic times in the areas under its control. He noted that the organisation has nothing to do with Islam.

ISIL “has everything to do with prehistoric times” he added, saying it had married stone-age rituals with internet techniques learnt by the likes of British terrorist “Jihadi John”.

He continued: “Bloodshed is a human catastrophe and slaughtering an entire culture is a humanitarian catastrophe, both of which leave a deep scar on the soul. ISIL factions are fully aware of the effect of their acts.”

In just moments, ISIL militants torched a library filled with books that had been kept safe for hundreds of years, Badrakhan noted.

“Dozens of other libraries in Mosul that stood witness to religious and cultural diversity no longer exist. The sculpture they destroyed in the Museum of Mosul dates back to the 7th century BC, while the rare manuscript they burnt at the library dates back to the 7th century AD.

“The hands that crushed, destroyed and burnt belong to our times, when our civilisation is supposedly at its paramount,” he concluded.

An editorial in the Sharjah-based daily Al Khaleej noted that the US-led coalition could not defeat ISIL and its various factions on its own, nor would conferences held in Washington and other western capitals lead to a global strategy to combat terrorism.

It concluded: “Time goes by and the threat grows bigger, yet no agreement towards collective Arab action has been made. Unilateral wars are to no avail and shallow alliances will not replace the saying: ‘If you want something done, do it yourself’.”

Translated by Carla Mirza

cmirza@thenational.ae

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