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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Smoking Gun of Aleppo

Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo - Before and After
BBC photo

Someone in Syria destroyed the minaret of the Aleppo Umayyad Mosque, a world heritage site.
Who could have done such a deed?
The minaret of the ancient Umayyad Mosque in the northern coastal city of Aleppo, a famous landmark and cultural treasure, has reportedly been destroyed in savage fighting between rebels and troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
SANA, the state-controlled news agency, accused rebels of blowing up the 11th-century minaret, stating that "terrorists ... placed explosive materials in the minaret and the mosque's southern door and set them off.”
However, opposition activists claim a government tank shelled it to rubble.
"The deliberate destruction of this minaret, under whose shadow [sultan of Egypt and Syria] Saladin ... and [10th-century Iraqi poet] Al-Mutanabbi rested, is a crime against human civilization," the opposition National Coalition said in a statement.
"The Assad regime has done everything it can to destroy Syria's social fabric. Today, by killing people and destroying culture, it is sowing ... bitterness in people's hearts that will be difficult to erase for a very long time.”

BBC reported that not only were antique furnishings and sculpted colonnades ruined by fighting, looters have also made off with ancient artifacts, including a box that supposedly carries a strand of the Prophet Muhammad's (saw) hair.
First, the opposition claims that it was deliberately destroyed by the Syrian Army. This is a much more credible claim than what I heard first: that it was unintentionally destroyed  by tank fire.
Tank fire doesn't just spread out randomly.
In World War II, Monte Cassino was destroyed because the Allies targeted it, not because bombs and shells randomly sought to wreak violence.

Second, who in the Muslim world is well known for an arrogant hatred of things like "World Heritage Sites" - such as the Bamayan Buddha Statues - and archaeological antiquities relating to religion?

Islamic Fundamentalists have a pretty good track record of wanton destruction.

And these fundamentalists and Al Qa'ida supporters have been tutored in their beliefs by the Wahhabi clerics of Saudi Arabia.

Now merely Google on "Saudi Arabia" and "destruction" and "archaeology" and "antiquities" and see what turns up. 

I searched on "saudi destruction of archaeology", and my first hit was:

The Telegraph

Analysis: Saudi Arabia's war between god and archaeology
For decades, Saudi Arabia's powerful clerics have waged a bitter battle against pagan faiths, idol worship, heresy, alcohol – and archaeology.
By Praveen Swami
9:00PM GMT 04 Feb 2011
News that David Kennedy, an Australian scholar, has succeeded in identifying almost 2,000 unexplored archaeological sites using Google Earth has focused attention on the wages of that battle: the destruction of Saudi Arabia's own heritage More than 90 per cent of the archaeological treasures of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, experts estimate, have been demolished to make way for hotels, apartment blocks and parking facilities.

The $13 billion project that led to a wave of demolitions in the middle of the last decade was part of an effort to modernise infrastructure in the ancient cities, where millions of pilgrims gather for the Hajj each year.
Sami Angawi, an expert on Arabian architecture, lamented that history had been " bulldozed for a parking lot". "We are witnessing now the last few moments of the history of Mecca,", he said.
The Kingdom's ultraconservative clerics believe that the veneration of ancient sites associated with the Prophet Mohammad and his family is heretical, and want potential shrines obliterated...
 Having read this and some other accounts, it becomes obvious why I had emphasized the section "strand of the Prophet Muhammad's (saw) hair."

The hard-line fundamentalist would be furious about the possibilities of idolatry involving such things. Add to that the fact that they have no use for the history of Islam, nor the history of anything else, and I think we have found the smoking gun of Aleppo.


There is the expression "saw"  or  .

written after the name of the Prophet in accordance with normal usage and respect.

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