Why did this happen? Did someone at the monastery draw Muhammad? Did some Iraqi cleric provoke the poor dears, poking them in the eye in some way, and failing to show proper respect for Islam? As far as Western Christian leaders are concerned, the Christians of Iraq have no one but themselves to blame for this sort of thing. “Our Christian history in Mosul is being barbarically leveled,” said Iraq-based Catholic priest Rev Paul Thabit Habib. “We see it as an attempt to expel us from Iraq, eliminating and finishing our existence in this land.” If only the Christians had devoted themselves more assiduously to “dialogue”! Then none of this would have happened!
“Isis razes to ground the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq, satellite images show,” by Adam Withnall, Independent, January 20, 2016 (thanks to Lookmann):
The Isis jihadist group has completely destroyed a 1,400-year-old Christian monastery in Iraq, the oldest of its kind in the country.
Satellite images released on Wednesday by the Associated Press showed just a pile of rubble where St Elijah’s Monastery used to stand on a hill above Mosul, Isis’s stronghold in Iraq.
The monastery had survived as a place of Christian worship for almost one-and-a-half millenia, predating Islam itself, and had only suffered superficial damage throughout the country’s most recent conflicts.
An historically significant site, the partially restored 27,000-square-foot stone building had 26 distinct rooms including a sanctuary and chapel. It still had niches where monks used to tuck candles, and the fourth century Greek “Chi-Rho” symbol, representing the name of Christ, was still visible carved into its right gatepost.
The site was recently used as a place of worship for US troops in Iraq, but fell into Isis hands in June 2014. This month, AP reported, satellite images commissioned from the firm DigitalGlobe confirmed what local antiquities experts have feared for some time.
“Our Christian history in Mosul is being barbarically leveled,” said Iraq-based Catholic priest Rev Paul Thabit Habib. “We see it as an attempt to expel us from Iraq, eliminating and finishing our existence in this land.”
The demolition itself appears to have taken place at some point between August and September 2014, image analyst Stephen Wood told AP.
Images show the stone walls “have been literally pulverized”, he said. “Bulldozers, heavy equipment, sledgehammers, possibly explosives turned those stone walls into this field of gray-white dust. They destroyed it completely.”
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