“Attacks on the Sphinx date back centuries. Despite many legends surrounding the monument’s missing nose – with harm from Napoleon’s cannon being among the most popular myths – historians believe it was actually destroyed by Sufi Muslim Muhammad Sa’im al-Dahr in the 14th century, after he learned that some peasants worshipped the Sphinx.”
Many of the incidents of Muslim destruction of artifacts are ascribed to Infidels, in keeping with the general tendency of Islamic supremacists to blame everyone but themselves for their own wrongdoing. In Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History, Robert D. Kaplan repeats uncritically what he probably heard from local Muslims: that the icons in the local churches had their eyes scraped off because the superstitious local Christians had taken them to mix in health potions. It is, however, virtually inconceivable that Orthodox believers, even the most ignorant and superstitious, would desecrate icons in this way. It is much more likely that the icons had no eyes because Islamic authorities consider that it is sufficient to destroy the representation of the face in order to ruin the image as a representation of the human form. And that’s why the nose of the Sphinx was gone long before Napoleon’s troops ever had target practice.
“Kuwaiti preacher, ISIS call for demolition of Egypt’s Sphinx, pyramids,” RT, March 9, 2015:
An Islamist preacher from Kuwait has called to destroy Egypt’s Sphinx and pyramids, stating it is time for Muslims to erase the pharaohs’ heritage. The alleged call comes as Islamic State jihadists ramp up their attacks against historic sites.
Although the ancient monuments are not religious – but rather cultural and historic sites – they should still be “destroyed” by Muslims, putting an end to the worship of images, preacher Ibrahim Al Kandari said, according to Al-Watan daily.
“The fact that early Muslims who were among prophet Mohammed’s followers did not destroy the pharaohs’ monuments upon entering the Egyptian soil, does not mean that we shouldn’t do it now,” Al Kandari said.
Another call for the destruction of Egypt’s main symbols comes from Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who suggested the demolition of the historic monuments is a “religious duty,” Al Alam news reported on Sunday. In the extreme interpretations of Islam, no material objects should be idolized or worshiped.
It comes amid growing concerns over the safety of many other historic and architectural monuments in the region, where militants continue to destroy ancient cities and artifacts.
Only last week, the Islamic State reportedly destroyed and looted the ancient Assyrian city of Dur Sharrukin in northern Iraq, demolished the remains of the ancient city of Hatra, and bulldozed the city of Nimrud near Mosul. The assault on the latter has already been compared by archaeologists to the Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001.
In 2012, an Egyptian cleric also issued a fatwa calling to rid the country of its pyramids and the Sphinx. The member of the radical Salafi movement said he wanted the antiquities demolished, as Prophet Mohammed destroyed the idols in Mecca, and demanded Egypt’s tourism ministry be abolished, comparing the industry to “prostitution and debauchery.”
The religious ruling was denounced by Egypt’s officials and scholars, who claimed the site was part of the country’s cultural – not religious – heritage.
Attacks on the Sphinx date back centuries. Despite many legends surrounding the monument’s missing nose – with harm from Napoleon’s cannon being among the most popular myths – historians believe it was actually destroyed by Sufi Muslim Muhammad Sa’im al-Dahr in the 14th century, after he learned that some peasants worshipped the Sphinx.