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article imageOp-Ed: IS blows up Saladin shrine, shrine of martyrs

By Paul Wallis     Sep 26, 2014 in World
Tikrit - The “Islamic State” continues to destroy every vestige of Islamic greatness it finds. In a recent act of vandalism, they destroyed the shrine to Saladin in his home birthplace, Tikrit.
Saladin was one of the greatest soldiers in history, defeating the Crusaders.
IS also destroyed the Arbaeen Wali shrine, housing 40 martyrs, according to Al Arabiya. This shrine is said to have been one of the best representations of Islamic architecture from the golden age of Islam, visited by thousands of people each year.
IS, like the Taliban, and Al Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor group to IS, have shown no respect for Islamic history or any other culture’s history, in any form. They’ve systematically destroyed statues and images. This is like the Chinese Cultural Revolution, systematically destroying the culture it claims to protect.
The theory of iconoclasm is that images are somehow sinful or that images promote ideologies. The irony that iconoclasm is itself an ideology, and a destructive ideology, is rarely mentioned. Terrorist groups in recent times appear to consider themselves superior to their cultural histories, rewriting it to suit their own, transient, agendas.
The disrespect for Saladin, who was a Kurd, for those wondering, is effectively an insult to the whole of Islamic history. He defeated the corrupt Crusaders and effectively liberated the region from a degenerate military rule.
The name Saladin is a European contraction of his formal name “Salah Al Din”, meaning “Righteousness of the Faith”. He was a Sunni, of the same branch of Islam as the “Islamic State,” and one of its greatest rulers.
Exactly how a Sunni hero can be an enemy of Sunni Islam is anyone’s guess. Destroying these shrines is a renunciation of history, common among many extremist groups, notably the Soviet and Chinese communists of the 1920s and early 1960s.
It may be that Saladin, even now, 900 years later, is too strong an image of Islam in its glory days for IS. He was famous for his honor, justice, and generosity, even to his enemies. No surprise that IS sees him as a threat, even now.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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