A Kuwaiti Islamist preacher has called for Muslims to wipe out the Pharaoh’s heritage through the destruction of Egypt’s Sphinx and pyramids. The call comes amidst the Islamic State’s attack on historical sites in northern Iraq, a region formerly known as Mesopotamia.
Despite the fact that the monuments are not of a religious nature, the preacher, Ibrahim Al Kandari, said that they should still be destroyed. He mentions that just because The Prophet Mohammed’s followers did not destroy the monuments, “does not mean we shouldn’t do it now”.
Echoing this sentiment is ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who claims that the destruction of the ancient Egyptian sites is a “religious duty”, according to Al-Alam news. This coincides with an extreme interpretation of Islam which prohibits material objects from being idolized and worshipped.
Last week, the Islamic State has reportedly demolished and looted the ancient Assyrian city of Dur Sharrukin, assaulted the remains of the ancient city of Hatra, and destroyed the ruins of Nimrod, a city once considered the jewel of the Assyrian Empire. The destruction of the latter has been often compared by archaeologists, who are growing increasingly concerned for the safety of the ancient cities, to the destruction the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan at the hands The Taliban in 2001.
Similarly, an Egyptian cleric, known to be a member of the Salafi movement, issued a Fatwa to the Egyptian government calling for the demolition of the antiquities in the same way The Prophet destroyed the pre-Islamic idols of Mecca. He compared Egypt’s tourism industry, one of the country’s largest sources of income, to prostitution and debauchery.
The Fatwa was decried by Egyptian authorities, claiming that the monuments are part of the country’s cultural, rather than religious, heritage.
Attacks on The Sphinx reportedly took place throughout history. Historians believe the monument’s missing nose was destroyed in the 14th century by Sufi Muslim Muhammad Sa’Im Al-Dahr after learning that some peasants were worshipping the Sphinx.▪