Egypt Islamic Body Condemns ISIS Destruction of Artifacts

February 27, 2015  

The Egyptian body which rules on Islamic law on Friday condemned the Islamic State group’s destruction of Iraqi artifacts, saying Mohammed’s own companions had never demolished ancient heritage.

The Dar al-Ifta, whose rulings are sought by Muslims from around the world, said the jihadists’ videotaped smashing of ancient statues at the Mosul museum in northern Iraq showed their ignorance of the teachings of the faith.

“Such antiquities are to be found in all of the countries conquered by Muslims, but the prophet’s companions did not order their destruction or even authorise anything approaching it,” the body ruled.  

“Some of the prophet’s companions even came to Egypt… and discovered the Pyramids, the Sphinx and other remains but they did not issue fatwas (religious edicts) against these antiquities, which have immense historical value.”

In the jihadists’ extreme interpretation of Islam, statues, idols and shrines are a material corruption of the purity of the early Muslim faith and amount to recognizing other objects of worship than God.  

Their views are marginal however and most clerics, even those who promote a rigorist Islam, argue that what were idols in the days of the founder of Islam are now part of cultural heritage.

AFP contributed to this report.

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