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When he established the religion of Islam in 630 AD, the Prophet Muhammad is said to have smashed the statues of ancient Arabic Idols in the territory now venerated as the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. In doing so, he set an example that would ripple through the ancient Middle East like an earthquake.

Energized by the faith he imparted them, Muhammad’s followers charged the tired-out nations of humanity’s first golden-age, burning or smashing to pieces anything that attracted veneration or that stood for rival theologies. Their justification for this vandalism was the same used by the Prophet; nothing should be venerated except the qualities of God.

Wahhabis take this anti-idolatry stance to the wild extreme. In the modern city of Makkah, the Saudi religious establishment has ordered the bulldozing of numerous buildings venerated by millions of less orthodox believers. This includes the house Muhammad was born in and many other buildings connected with the Islamic Salaf (original or ‘rightly guided’ generation).

What is currently occurring in the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh is therefore completely in keeping with Islamic theology as promoted by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE.

The Mail has posted pictures today depicting ISIS barbarians smashing statues in an Iraqi museum, some of which date back hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus. The surprised comments in reaction to them are shame-faced. Assyrian activists have been reporting the destruction of Nineveh for some time. The media has been pathetically slow to catch up.

The ancient city of Nineveh, whose ruins are located within the neighbourhood of the ISIS-controlled city of Mosul, was capital of the Assyrian empire and is mentioned throughout the Hebrew Bible. Its famed city walls are on the ISIS hit-list and may be blown up at any time. Should ISIS proceed all the way to Baghdad, the city of Babylon – to the South of the modern capital and an equally famed centre of ancient culture – will be treated the same way.

The question forming from the smoke of this destruction is whether we, the human collective, have any respect for our past, for the treasures that served as mileposts on the way to our present complexity. I do. I think we all should.

Death to Wahhabism. Death to the preachers of nihilism. Death to ISIS.