WASHINGTON, July 24, 2014 — Radical Islamist groups are gaining strength and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.
The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS), is enforcing an extreme Salafist interpretation of Islam in the areas of Iraq and Syria it conquers. They are at war with the West and with Islam itself.
The horrors perpetrated by Islamist radicals — mutilations of women, the kidnapping of school girls, the wholesale slaughter of Christians — have not been enough to rouse sane people to act. ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas and al Qaeda have become overwhelmingly destructive to people, and they are determined to mutilate history along with humanity.
One recent outrage from ISIS is the destruction of the Tomb of Jonah.
CNN video shows the destruction of a Holy Site that Christians believe held the tomb of the Prophet Jonah, swallowed by the whale in biblical stories. The tomb was inside a Sunni mosque called the Mosque of the Prophet Younis. The Tomb of Jonah was a holy site for Muslims and Christians alike.
Militants belonging to ISIS planted explosives around the tomb and detonated them remotely Thursday, civil defense officials there told CNN.
ISIS is waging war against the Iraqi government and has taken over several cities in Iraq in its quest to create an Islamic caliphate, foreshadowed by Osama Bin Laden, that will encompass parts of Iraq and Syria. As they conquer the cities, the are imposing Sharia law and threatening to destroy all shrines deemed un-Islamic.
“They see themselves as the last defenders of Islamic civilization and want to eradicate anything that they see as the enemy of Islam, and any Muslim they perceive as compromising with the West,” Yvonne Haddad, a professor at Georgetown University who specializes in the history of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations, told FoxNews.com.
— Medh (@medhparth) July 15, 2014
This includes the sites revered by the Shia sect, which has been at odds with Sunnis for almost 1,400 years. Shia all over the world, including the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad, are angered over the destruction of their shrines.
There are threats that the Islamic State is targeting Mecca’s Al-Masjid al-Haram, and its famed Kaaba. The cube-shaped, granite and marble building adorned with Koranic inscriptions. It also features priceless relics like the golden rain spout, a purported footprint of Abraham and the black cornerstone believed to have been placed by Muhammad.
Tonight faithful are there praying during the highest holy days of Ramadam
Christian families fled Mosul this month after ISIS ordered them to convert to Islam, pay a fine, or face “death by the sword.” Witnesses reported that some fleeing Christians were kidnapped for ransom while others were executed at checkpoints.
ISIS has blown up several Sunni holy sites in the last few weeks, including Mosques, as they are battling Islam itself. Destroyed are the Saad bin Aqeel Husseiniya shrine, and also the shrine of Prophet Seth (Shayth)
According to ISIS, giving “special venerations” to tombs and relics is against the teachings of Islam.
Last month, it destroyed seven Shiite places of worship in the predominantly Shiite Turkmen city of Tal Afar, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Mosul, Human Rights Watch has reported, citing local sources.
The explosion at the tomb of Jonah happened the same day Iraqi fighter jets bombed a store in the al-Dubat neighborhood, killing eight persons, according to Dr. Mohammed Fadel, the director of Mosul’s main hospital.
Mosul city currently has about two million residents, more than half of whom are women.
“There are reports of rapes of women, of forced marriages,” Jacqueline Badcock, U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil.
There is concern about a “fatwa” issued by Sunni Muslim that all women aged 11 to 49 would undergo female genital mutilation, the removal of external genitalia to reduce sexual pleasure and immoral behaviors.
“We have current reports of imposition of a directive that all female girl children and women up to the age of 49 must be circumcised. This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed,” Badcock said.
The “fatwa” has not been confirmed. The AFP reports that Charles Lister, visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center and expert on Iraqi and Syrian extremist groups, said the U.N. claim appeared to be based on a “quite clearly faked statement” that began circulating online on Wednesday.
However reports are that a spokesman for Mosul police, Ahmed Obaydi, said:
“Baghdadi’s decision to have all women circumcised is, as he claims, to prevent immorality and promote Islamic attitudes among Muslims. The decision was made by Baghdadi as a ‘gift’ for people in Mosul.”
“This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists,” she added.
ISIS supporters deny that Baghdadi made the statement, however.
Iraqi lawmakers elected Fuad Masum to be the country’s next president today, Thursday July 24, 2014.
A veteran Kurdish politician and senior member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan leadership council Masum has been a member of the Iraqi parliament since 2005 and the head of the Kurdish alliance bloc there for the last four years.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called Masum.
“They agreed on the importance of forming a new Iraqi government as quickly as possible and working to arrive at an agreed-upon road map for governance. President Masum expressed the importance of restoring trust and confidence among all of Iraq’s communities and continuing to rebuild Iraq’s relations in the region,” according to the White House.
Commander of the U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin met with senior Iraqi officials today.
“In our conversations I reinforced the importance of quickly forming a government that is inclusive and representative of all Iraqis. I also underscored the point that, in the absence of political movement, any support the U.S. Government might consider providing could have only limited, short-term effects,” Austin said in a statement.
It is highly unlikely the Islamic State recognize Masum. Moreover, Iraq’s forces are severely challenged by the heavily armed and financed ISIS. ISIS support comes from the Arab Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, all supposedly American Allies.
ISIS also runs a criminal operation which funds much of its activities. In steamrolling Mosul, the group reportedly stole $430 million from the main bank this month. They also create income selling oil from areas in Northern Syria which it controls.