Iraq’s oldest Christian monastery was destroyed by the Islamic State.
It is thought the destruction of St Elijah’s Monastery, near Mosul, took place in 2014. It has only been publicized now with the help of satellite images. The monastery was built in the 6th century as a shrine to Mar Elia (Saint Elijah).
"The monastery attracted all the people from Mosul – Christians and Muslims. All the poets, historians and travellers wrote about this monastery," Father Paul Thabit Habib told AP. "It became a very important place for the history of the Church in Iraq."
"We see it as an attempt to expel us from Iraq, eliminating and finishing our existence in this land," he said.
The Islamic State has carried out a campaign of deliberate and sustained cultural cleansing to systematically destroy all traces of non-Islamic culture in Iraq and Syria. This includes temples in Palmyra, the shrine of Mar Elian in Syria, the ancient Roman city of Hatra and the remains of the Assyrian king’s palace at Nimrod.
The list goes on and on. The Islamic State, fueled by its extremist belief that any non-Sunni Muslim art, architecture or culture is idolatrous, will continue to destroy everything in its path.
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