Antiquities threatened in Middle East region

Antiquities threatened in Middle East region
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Antiquities threatened in Middle East region

Antiquities and heritage sites representing the history of mankind throughout the Middle East and North Africa are being threatened by terrorists including Daesh (ISIS).

A coalition of world leaders and activists called the Antiquities Coalition has been formed to help bring more public attention to the destruction of heritage sites in the Middle East region.

The Antiquities Coalition has created an interactive map that also allows visitors to view sites that have been destroyed or that are in imminent danger. Click here to view the map.

Here is a statement from the Antiquities Coalition on the recent destruction of St. Elijah’s Christian Monastery in Iraq.

The world learned Wednesday of ISIS’ recent destruction of St. Elijah’s, the oldest Christian Monastery in Iraq. Its demolition is just the latest of hundreds of heritage sites targeted by ISIS and other violent extremist organizations in the March of Destruction across the Middle East.

The Antiquities Coalition has been closely monitoring ISIS’ campaign of cultural cleansing. To provide graphical representation of cultural crimes committed by ISIS and other violent extremist organizations in the region, the Antiquities Coalition has created the Culture Under Threat Map, which tracks instances of deliberate targeting of cultural heritage for destruction in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Arab Daily News

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“In destroying treasured sites like St. Elijah’s, Palmyra, the Mosul Museum, and the Mosque of the Prophet Younus,” said Deborah Lehr, chair and founder of the Antiquities Coalition, “ISIS seeks to intimidate and erase the heritage of Iraq and Syria’s diverse communities — an effort that has targeted Muslims, Christians, and numerous ethnic minorities alike.”

Saint Elijah's Monastery, courtesy of Wikipedia

Saint Elijah’s Monastery, courtesy of Wikipedia

The Antiquities Coalition created the Culture Under Threat Map to illustrate losses to date and threatened areas where lives and history which remain at risk.  “Our hope is that this map will help raise awareness about the extent of the destruction that has been wrought by ISIS on our shared heritage,” Lehr said, “These attacks against culture are first and foremost attacks against the people of Iraq, Syria, and the entire region.”

“ISIS also traffics in stolen antiquities using illicit profits to fund their global terror campaign. Their crimes of war also damage the future foundations of peace, stability, and economic growth for Iraq and Syria, which rely on their rich cultural heritage for a shared sense of national identity and for job creation and investment,” Lehr continued.

About The Antiquities Coalition’s Web Based Resources

MAP:

  • The Antiquities Coalition’s interactive map only includes museums and sites designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) whose information is publicly available so as not to reveal to ISIS the details of other critical but lesser known locations of cultural, historical, and religious history.
  • The destruction in the countries examined has revealed at least 230 sites that have been deliberately targeted or destroyed by ISIS and other violent extremist organizations. Destroyed heritage includes significant monuments from the ancient, Greco-Roman, Islamic, and modern periods alike.
  • The Culture Under Threat Map currently shows nearly 700 heritage sites throughout the 22 states of the Arab League — 209 UNESCO World Heritage and Tentative List Sites (34 of which are in Iraq and Syria), 230 damaged or destroyed sites, and 277 museums.

BEFORE & AFTER:

  • The Antiquities Coalition new resources also include a “Before and After” look at sites wiped from the map by extremist groups in the Middle East and North Africa since the 2011 Arab Spring.

SOURCE The Antiquities Coalition

The Arab Daily News

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Managing Writer


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The Arab Daily News

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