1.14.2009

Islam and Cultural Property

There have been a number of stories about Islamic cultural property in Muslim countries recently.

Wahhabi teaching is against preserving even buildings related to Mohammed, least they become venerated, which would be idolatry. This meant that lavatories were deliberately built over Mohammed's mosque at Mecca. The growth in the numbers taking part in the Haj also meant that many Ottoman era buildings were torn down last year to make way for history-less modern structures which could accommodate more people.
Only the Ka'ba is sacrosanct.

Egypt, not Arabia, therefore has most of the oldest surviving mosques. Squabbling between the government and the religious authority seems to have meant that thefts have increased.Unholy thefts - Al Ahram

There was also a recent story Medieval mosques in Cairo urgently needing more funds for restoration, but I can't find it.

Much of Beirut has been rebuilt in the last decade. I've written before about the great work the archaeological service there is doing, but it seem that Ottoman era buildings are not faring as well:Beirut's architectural heritage erased by modern towers - AFP

The Bamiyan Buddhas are related to this theme only in that they were destroyed by Islamic fanatics - the Buddhas were Buddhist. Time asks a question, to which I suspect the answer is ... probably not:
Should Buddhas Blasted by the Taliban be Rebuilt? - Time

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