The Islamist militant group ISIS has been destroying Iraq’s Shiite mosques and religious shrines as it continues to put pressure on the country and further its extreme agenda. The AFP reported over the weekend that four shrines that commemorated Sunni Arab or Sufi figures have been destroyed, while six Shiite mosques were demolished. The destruction seems to have been limited to Iraq’s northern Nineveh province, including militant-held Mosul. One local resident told Al-Arabiya that members of the group had also occupied Chaldean cathedral and the Syrian Orthodox cathedral, both in Mosul, removing their crosses and replacing them with the black flag of the Islamic State.
For photos of the devastation, see the Newsweek article. The worsening tensions between Shi’a and Sunnis is quickly spreading throughout the region, including to India. As AI editor Adam Garfinkle has warned, we may soon see a repeat of the Battle of Karbala, a 7th-century showdown between the two branches of Islam which the Shi’a lost. (See Peter Berger’s recent article on the Sunni-Shi’a schism as well). Attacks on Shi’a holy sites by Sunni militants will only fan the flames.