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Why extreme Islamists are intent on destroying cultural artifacts
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Why extreme Islamists are intent on destroying cultural artifacts

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/02/16788304-why-extreme-islamists-are-intent-on-destroying-cultural-artifacts?lite

" They have destroyed the iconic Buddhas of Bamiyan, smashed down the fabled “end of the world” gate in the ancient city of Timbuktu and even called for the destruction of Egypt’s ancient pyramids and the Sphinx.

Extreme Islamist movements across the world have developed a reputation for the destruction of historic artifacts, monuments and buildings.

This week, officials confirmed that up to 2,000 manuscripts at Mali's Ahmed Baba Institute had been destroyed or looted during a 10-month occupation of Timbuktu by Islamist fighters. Some experts have compared the texts to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

To many in the West, such actions are simply wanton vandalism. However, experts say the thinking behind it is actually part of a wider tradition of rooting out idol-worship and superstition found in Christianity and Judaism as well as Islam.

Usama Hasan -- an Islamist for about 20 years, who now works to counter extremism at the U.K.’s Quilliam Foundation -- said most Muslims had “a kind of tolerant attitude" and a "live-and-let-live" approach toward such things.

"Mainstream Muslim thinking tends to tolerate these historic artifacts," he said. "Even if they don’t agree with the superstitions, they don’t want to provoke the community and don’t see it as a big deal."

......while the Taliban justified the 2001 demolition of the Buddhas of Bamiyan by saying they were idols, Hasan said there was more to it.

“The Taliban’s destruction of the statues was a political gesture. The United Nations had sent money to restore these statues at the same time there were sanctions [against Afghanistan],” he said. “The Taliban said children were dying because of this … and the U.N. was more concerned about statues than people.”

Noah Charney, professor of art history at the American University of Rome, said that the destruction of idols dated back to biblical times, when warring factions would destroy monuments of rivals that were thought to have religious power.

........The reason many Ancient Greek and Roman statues of gods are missing their heads and arms is not faulty construction, Charney said. Instead, it is often the legacy of the 6th-century Pope Gregory the Great.

“He found the classical statuary to be very beautiful, but there was a danger people would revert back to their pagan ways” and start worshiping them, Charney said. By removing the head and arms, which often held items identifying the deity, the statue “lost all its power because you don’t know which god it is.”

.......The wrecking ball has also been swung to significant effect in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

According to an estimate in 2005 by Sami Angawi, an expert on Islamic architecture, at least 300 historic buildings were demolished over the previous 50 years.

The reason, espoused by the Wahhabi movement within Islam, was that people might start idolatrously worshipping structures associated with Muhammad, rather than God.

David Thomas, professor of Christianity and Islam at the U.K.’s Birmingham University, said iconoclasm was “a strain in all religions unfortunately,” but added that was “present at the moment in Islam more than anywhere else.”

In contrast, he said that there were “teachings in the Quran that are actually very open and tolerant. There are teachings that accept other ways than the way given to Muhammad.”

And Thomas said some Islamists were in danger of committing the very sin they despise.

“The Taliban have an attitude that almost shades into idolatry itself. They are saying they know what the truth is, that they have a monopoly on the truth and that they can therefore almost take the place of God in judging who is right and who is wrong.”



7 Comments
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973741_tn?1342346373
The hope is that we as human beings evolve over time.  Some places of the world have not done so as of yet it seems.  It saddens me that great works of art and historical buildings are demolished like this.  But what can ya do?  The extremists of anything are dangerous.  
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1310633_tn?1289313024
I can ALMOST understand why they destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001. The UN spend millions to restore the statues, while children were starving. I'm not saying it's justified, or anything, but I sorta get their logic (sorta).

For instance... do I think it's a travesty that the budget for the US Parks & Wildlife dept, was $3 BILLION+ last year, while there are children & families starving ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES? Yes... why yes I do.

Does that make me want to go and burn down all the national forests... NO, why no it doesn't. But I can understand why an extremist group might want to. To make a POINT.

Not saying I agree with the Taliban about the buddha thing, but I can ALMOST wrap my head around the logic. ALMOST.
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Avatar_m_tn
I can almost wrap my head around that logic too, but there are a couple of "buts" involved.  The Taliban could do themselves a bunch of good by creating an atmosphere where help for these starving children could be assisted.  Quit with the suicide bombings, at will against those who would be providing the help.  Quit creating a hostile environment in which these starving children live and do all you can to welcome help and support.... quit threatening to kill everyone from the west, quit raiding embassies, quit taking westerners hostage and killing some of them if you actually want some help.

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480448_tn?1403547723
“The Taliban have an attitude that almost shades into idolatry itself. They are saying they know what the truth is, that they have a monopoly on the truth and that they can therefore almost take the place of God in judging who is right and who is wrong.”


Exactly.

And I think there's a lot of hypocrisy...they can go and destroy these symbols, which are spiritually meaningful to others, yet mess with a Quran?  They'll cut your head off.  Kind of like.."do as I say, not as I do".
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148588_tn?1405690829
..... and speaking of judging who's right and who's wrong. I certainly didn't shed any tears over Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, but what do you think about this for setting a preceent?

http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/04/16843014-exclusive-justice-department-memo-reveals-legal-case-for-drone-strikes-on-americans?lite

"A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.

The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the  September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes. ......"
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480448_tn?1403547723
How weird..I was JUST reading that.  That is some scary stuff.  That's the kind of "power" that should make every citizen uncomfortable.  It's one thing to go after a KNOWN bad guy, after facts have been established...but sheesh.

I'm not always on the same page as the ACLU, I think they nit pick to an extreme sometimes..but I agree with them on this one.  It just doesn't seem right!

"behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the  September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes. ......" .

Since when is it okay to go after a "suspect"?  Holy crap!!  What happened to the legal process, and "innocent until proven guilty"??  Looks like the Obama administration isn't interested in those pesky little details.
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Avatar_m_tn
A while back on another thread, I spoke of the "things" that the President didn't understand about the job that may or may not have allowed him to make promises he couldn't keep.  Naivety, maybe?

Any, in regards to al-Awlaki and Khan.... there is no telling what the government knew about these two.  Yeah, we heard that they were American operatives within al-Qaida but we will never know the full extent.  Maybe that extent warranted just getting rid of those two.

As far as I am concerned, if you actively turn against your country, due process was served as soon as you signed up with the bad guys and participated in the ill against your former country.  
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