Why IS militants destroy ancient sites

The destruction of the grandest, most important temple in the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra has flung so-called Islamic State’s (IS) barbarous actions back into international consciousness.

Many will wonder why anyone would so actively seek to raze historical and cultural marvels that have lasted millennia.

But for the IS bulldozers, the rationale is straightforward and fulfils several readily identifiable goals.

As IS notes in the eighth issue of its own publication, the glossy Dabiq magazine, they see ancient cultural heritage as a challenge for the loyalties and legitimacy of Iraqi or Syrian people to IS itself.

  • Dana Garcia

    Erasing inconvenient history is what totalitarians do.


  • Martin B

    “Liberally sprinkle such intolerance with a self-serving, simplistic, context-free reading of a few scriptures…”

    Surprise, surprise, Dr David Roberts, lecturer in the Defence Studies Department at Kings College, is another clown who believes the True Islam is a wonderful Religion of Peace.

    The Bamiyan Buddhas were an embarrassing reminder that Afghanistan was a much better and more civilized place before it was ruled by Islam. The Palmyra Temples were an embarrassing reminder that Syria was a much better and more civilized place before it was ruled by Islam. That’s why they all had to be destroyed.