ISIS recently burnt down over 8,000 books and 112,709 manuscripts, some as old as 800 years ago and dated back to the Ottoman empire and classified as UNESCO protected documents. In an act described by the ISIS fighters as “cultural cleansing,” the group by their actions also destroyed arts, culture and history, by burning thousands of rare manuscripts, documents and books, when they ransacked the Mosul Library, in Iraq, a location that is part of the area under ISIS control.
According to UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, their action was equivalent to cultural cleansing: “a new phase in the cultural cleansing perpetrated in regions controlled by armed extremists in Iraq.” She said
Fiscal Times also adds: “Among its lost collections were manuscripts from the eighteenth century, Syriac books printed in Iraq’s first printing house in the nineteenth century, books from the Ottoman era, Iraqi newspapers from the early twentieth century and some old antiques like an astrolabe and sand glass used by ancient Arabs. The library had hosted the personal libraries of more than 100 notable families from Mosul over the last century.“
At about the same time, ISIS also destroyed the Mosul Museum, housing among the most ancient artifacts dating back to the Assyrian empire before Christianity and Islam. Artifacts such as statues and items of art were either hack off or dynamited with explosives. Many were more than 3,000 years old and irreplaceable.