Besides removing supposed temptations to idolatry, Islamic jihadists want to ruin the artifacts of non-Muslim civilizations because doing so testifies to the truth of Islam, as the Qur’an suggests that ruins are a sign of Allah’s punishment of those who rejected his truth:
Many were the Ways of Life that have passed away before you: travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth. (Qur’an 3:137)
This is one of the foundations of the Islamic idea that pre-Islamic civilizations, and non-Islamic civilizations, are all jahiliyya — the society of unbelievers, which is worthless. Obviously this cuts against the idea of tourism of ancient sites and non-Muslim religious installations such as St. Catherine’s monastery. V. S. Naipaul encountered this attitude in his travels through Muslim countries. For many Muslims, he observed in Among the Believers, “The time before Islam is a time of blackness: that is part of Muslim theology. History has to serve theology.” Naipaul recounted that some Pakistani Muslims, far from valuing the nation’s renowned archaeological site at Mohenjo Daro, saw its ruins as a teaching opportunity for Islam, recommending that Qur’an 3:137 be posted there as a teaching tool.
“Inside Palmyra: ISIS releases taunting tourist board-style video showing smoke rising from ancient ruins as fears grow that the jihadis are preparing to lay waste to the captured Syrian city,” by John Hall, MailOnline, May 26, 2015 (thanks to Anne Crockett):
Chilling video footage has emerged showing the interior of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra after it was captured by militants fighting for the Islamic State terror group.
A short video released by the local pro-ISIS media company Aamaq News shows thick black smoke rising over Roman ruins that have stood for thousands of years in the central Syrian desert city.
Heavily armed jihadis can be seen patrolling the steps of Palmyra’s ancient amphitheatre as the high-definition camera pans around to capture streets lined with ancient monuments that now face destruction at the hands of ISIS and its history-erasing bulldozers and sledgehammers.
The one and a half minute video doesn’t feature any fighting in and around the city of Palmyra, which was captured by ISIS militants last Thursday following a lightning advance.
Instead it looks almost like a tourist video – capturing the beautiful sand-coloured Roman ruins in the kind of slick high-definition footage now synonymous with ISIS propaganda releases.
It seems increasingly likely that the video could turn out to be one of the final documents of the ancient city, as the jihadis are expected to raise [sic] much of it to the ground in the same way the bulldozed the equally historic city of Nimrod and destroyed ancient artifacts in Mosul museum.
Even if ISIS decide not to destroy the ruins, their destruction may well come about from the battle to force the jihadis out of the city.
Just this morning separate video footage was released showing the destruction of ancient buildings in Palmyra’s rubble-strewn suburbs following intense airstrikes by Syrian regime warplanes.
The video of destroyed buildings emerged just hours after Syrian regime warplanes carried out intense strikes on ISIS targets within Palmyra in an attempt to force the terrorists out of the strategically important desert city.
Within days of ISIS capturing Palmyra, hundreds of locals were brutally executed – among them at least 67 civilians, including 14 children.
Hundreds more were imprisoned by the Islamic terrorists.
Yesterday the Syrian Air Force announced that it had carried out a series of raids on ISIS targets within the militant-held city.
‘The air force struck more than 160 Daesh targets, killing and wounding terrorists and destroying weapons and vehicles equipped with machine guns’ on Palmyra’s outskirts and elsewhere in the east of Homs province, the source said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
‘We are pursuing Daesh wherever they are,’ he added….
Yes, and obviously you’re having great success.