CAIRO: Al Azhar, Sunni Islam’s leading authority, expressed outrage Friday at the bulldozing of the ancient city of Nimrud in Iraq by the Islamic State group saying the jihadists must be “eradicated”.
“What the terrorist organisation Daesh is doing by destroying monuments in the territory it controls in Iraq, Syria and Libya… is a major crime against the entire world,” Al Azhar said using the Arabic acronym for IS.
“What Daesh is doing is a war crime that history would never forget,” it said, adding that destruction of monuments was forbidden under the Islamic law sharia.
Al Azhar also urged “everyone concerned in the countries where Daesh and other extremist groups exist, to cooperate and eradicate them and save our Arabic and Islamic nations from their evils”.
IS, which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, began bulldozing the ruins of Nimrud on Thursday, in what the UN termed a “war crime”.
Last month IS fighters destroyed statues and ancient artefacts with sledgehammers and torched the city’s library.
The video released by IS last week showed militants knocking statues off their plinths and rampaging through the Mosul museum’s collection.
It also shows jihadists using a jackhammer to deface an imposing granite Assyrian winged bull at the Nergal Gate in Mosul.
“These artefacts behind me are idols for people from ancient times who worshipped them instead of God,” a bearded militant said in the video.
“The Prophet removed and buried the idols in Mecca with his blessed hands,” he said, referring to the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh).
Nimrud was founded in the 13th century BC and was considered the jewel of the Assyrian era.