Militant members of ISIS have reportedly broken their way into the Mosul public library, where they burned an estimated 8,000 books, some of which were rare and historical manuscripts.
A bearded militant, according to CBS DC, told residents living near the library, “These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah. So they will be burned.”
Ghanim al-Ta’an, the director of the public library, said the militants used an improvised explosive devices against the library with the hopes of destroying it, but when these efforts failed, the militants looted the books instead.
According to the Fiscal Times, the library housed many historical items and texts such as manuscripts written in the eighteenth century, books from the Ottoman era, and books printed in the nineteenth century in the first Iraqi printing house.
Militants are known to regularly burn books and manuscripts and destroy tombs and shrines of the cities and areas they have claimed as part of their caliphate. The militants also destroyed the church of Mary the Virgin and the Mosul University Theater on the same day, according to Breitbart.
A history professor at the University of Mosul spoke with the Lebanon Daily Star and said militants had started to destroy other public libraries in the area last month. Archives in a Sunni Muslim library, a library belonging to a 265-year-old Latin Church and Monastery of the Dominican Fathers, and works in the Mosul Museum Library were destroyed. Some of the works which were destroyed dated back to 5,000 B.C.
Rayan al-Hadidi, an activist and blogger in Mosul said, after the burning of the books from the library in Mosul, “900 years ago, the books of the Arab philosopher Averroes were collected before his eyes…and burned. One of his students started crying while witnessing the burning. Averroes told him… the ideas have wings…but I cry today over our situation.”