We have previously discussed the burning of rare books by Islamic State. Now, a new report says that the group has burned more than 8,000 rare books and manuscripts in Mosul. They then reportedly bombed the Mosul Public Library according to the director of the library. A new video also shows ISIS fighters smashing works of art, including a 9th Century figure.
The latest losses including manuscripts from the 18th century, Ottoman-era books, a sand glass used by ancient Arabs and Iraqi newspapers from the early 20th century. ISIS also destroyed the church of Mary the Virgin in Mosul and Mosul’s University theater.
What is fascinating is how similar these Islamic extremists are to the Nazis in their extermination campaigns coupled with the destruction of cultural and intellectual centers. In some ways, Islamic fascists are more dangerous because they combine this murderous culture with a promise of eternal salvation. As we have seen from the Nazis to the Stalinists to the Kymer Rouge to the Islamic State, intellectuals and their work are some of the first groups to be attacked by these forces of ignorance and hatred.
The thought of the loss of these early Islamic works is heartbreaking. I am only imagine the pain of this director and so many others to see their intellectual history literally go up in smoke.