Besides removing supposed temptations to idolatry, Islamic jihadists want to destroy the artifacts of non-Muslim civilizations because doing so testifies to the truth of Islam, as the Qur’an suggests that the destroyed remnants of ancient non-Muslim civilizations 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 respect for non-Muslim religious installations.
“Sad scenes at the Orthodox Christian cemetery in Priština – a chapel turned into a public toilette, many graves overrun by weeds,” Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Raska-Prizren and Kosovo-Metohija, October 3, 2016:
On the occasion of a recent visit to the Serbian Orthodox communal cemetery in Priština, Fr. Saša Mitrović the local priest could see sad and disturbing scenes. Recently repaired and cleaned the cemetery chapel was turned into a public toilette and a garbage dump, many graves have been overrun by weeds. Regrettably, this is happening regardless of the communal care by Priština municipality and a presence of a paid guardian. These scenes remind so much of those in the church of Christ the Savior in downtown Priština where the Serbian Orthodox Diocese began cleaning of the site from garbage. The cleaning was interrupted by municipal inspectors (without any judicial order) who forbade any access to the church and continuation of the cleaning.
As the All Saints Day is approaching many Priština Serbs, the most of which cannot freely return and live in the city of their birth, will visit the graves of their dear ones. It is the duty of the Diocese to organize cleaning of the cemetery chapel and the cemetery. There remains a question whether the Priština mayor will be so ardent to send inspectors again and suspend the works alathough [sic] he has done done nothing to prevent using the Orthodox Christian sites as public toilettes.
Bishop Teodosije has given a statement that it is so disturbing and difficult to understsand [sic] that in the Kosovo capital in 21st century Christian sites are used as public toiletters. This demonstrates and alarming absece [sic] of culture and elementary civilizational norms, said the Bishop. Priština Mayor Shpend Ahmeti has recently said in his interview to KIM radio that it was not the duty of the Municipality to take care whether religious sites are vandalized or damaged explaining why he did not take any measures after numerous vandalisms and the recent setting of fire in the church of Christ the Savior. However, as Ahmeti said, the Municipality ir [sic] responsible to prevent “any repairs” in these sites including cleaning and white-washing of walls. Such blatant manipulations with religious rights are a shame for the Kosovo society, said Bishop Teodosije, emphasizing that no one can stop the Church to take care of the dignity of her holy sites and protect them from vandal attacks.