ISIS Destroys 10th Century Assyrian Catholic Monastery

ISIS has blown up a 10th century Chaldean Catholic church north of Mosul. The building that was located in the Ba’werah neighborhood on a hill north of Mosul. ISIS also bulldozed a nearby graveyard.

Nineveh Yakou, Assyrian Archaeologist and Director of Cultural Heritage and Indigenous Affairs at A Demand for Action, exclusively told IBTimes UK that the St. George monastery has been “wiped out” by ISIS militants.

The building was founded by the Assyrian Church of the East in the 10th century. The building was converted into a seminary by the Chaldean Catholic Church in 1846.

Yakou told the IBTimes that “the current monastery was built on an archaeological site containing ancient Assyrian ruins. It was an important show of continuity from the Assyrian to our culture,” Yakou said. “ISIS is wiping out the cultural heritage of Iraq. The monastery was classified as cultural heritage. It’s a cultural and ethnic cleansing.”

The attacks on antiquities and art in Iraq and Syria are carried out in the name of a strict interpretation of Islamic law which rejects religious shrines and condemns Iraq’s majority Shi’ite Muslims as heretics.

The Assyrian International New Agency reports that the attack on the monastery came after ISIS militants bulldozed the 2,000-year-old city of Hatra and the Nimrud archaeological site near Mosul.

The destruction of the monastery is not an isolated incident. Two weeks ago, ISIS published a video showing militants destroying artifacts in a Mosul museum. The video, dated February, 2015, shows militants knocking over statues dating back to the Assyrian Empire. Some of the artifacts were 3,000 years old.

ISIS had occupied the museum since last summer and previously threatened to destroy its artifacts, which it indicated are inconsistent with Islam. As reported by the IBTimes, the video shows a militant clarifying why ISIS wanted to destroy the artifacts.

“These ruins that are behind me, they are idols and statues that people in the past used to worship instead of Allah. The Prophet Muhammed took down idols with his bare hands when he went into Mecca. We were ordered by our prophet to take down idols and destroy them, and the companions of the prophet did this after this time, when they conquered countries.”

The Islamic State group also burned the museum’s priceless collection of rare books and manuscripts. More than 100,000 documents reportedly went up in flames. The collection also included works from the Ottoman Empire period.

Click here to read more on the attack on the museums.