Mosul library

It had been thought that ISIS burned 8000 manuscripts and documents from the Mosul library. Now, the Independent reports, there’s a corrected estimate.

AL RAI’s chief international correspondent Elijah J. Magnier told The Independent that a Mosul library official believes as many as 112, 709 manuscripts and books, some of which were registered on a UNESCO rarities list, are among those lost.

Mosul Public Library’s director Ghanim al-Ta’an said Isis militants then demolished the building using explosive devices.

“People tried to prevent the terrorist group elements from burning the library, but failed,” a local source told

Other reports indicated that Isis militants later broke into the library and constructed a huge pyre of scientific and cultural texts as university students watched in horror.

Among the documents believed lost are a collection of Iraqi newspapers from the beginning of the 20[th] century, maps, books and collections from the Ottoman period.

Because it’s the khalifa now, and all that pagan shit is haram.

A University of Mosul history professor told the Associated Press extremists began destroying the library – established in 1921 and symbolic of the birth of modern Iraq – earlier this month.

He claimed Isis members had inflicted particularly severe damage to the Sunni Muslim library, the library of the 265-year-old Latin Church and Monastery of the Dominican Fathers and the Mosul Museum Library.

Oh well, it’s just a chunk of human history and culture.

Allahu akbar.



  1. Blanche Quizno says

    At this point, all one can do is reflect on the Buddhist concept of impermanence… But the huge issue is that a lot of these countries with ancient histories want their cultural treasures that were removed by imperialist colonial pig-dogs to be returned, and rightfully so. Well, is it really responsible to return these treasures into what is turning out to be such a risky environment, antiquities-wise?? Would any sensible person even make such a suggestion in the first place?? Perhaps an ongoing progression of appeals will stall repatriations forever…

  2. Decker says

    They will destroy anything not Islamic, be it ancient buildings, works of art or irreplaceable manuscripts and other treasures.

  3. quixote says

    They’re trying to erase a great deal of Islamic history and culture, too, Decker. Everything everywhere must be all about them or be obliterated. They have a lot of work ahead of them.

  4. RJW says

    If the members of ISIS continue their destructive rampage the only significant collections of Islamic cultural artefacts will be in Western museums and libraries.

  5. lorn says

    Adding book burning to their list of offensive behaviors … smooth.

    ISIS seems bound and determined to piss off as many people as possible.

    I think RJW @4 has a good point.
    Islam and Muslims are their main victims. They are killing Muslims and destroying Islamic culture faster than any of the non-Muslims.

  6. anat says

    lorn, somewhat similar to the crusaders who often killed local Christians together with Muslims, Jews and anyone else.

  7. lorn says

    anat @6 :

    Many historians have noted that internecine conflicts are often the bitterest and bloodiest. The American civil war, The 100 years war, the orgy of bloodletting that sometimes goes by the name European religious wars … and the beat goes on, and on, and on, and …

    Religion seems to help people become more violent.

    Humans are often hardest on those closest to us.

    Islam hasn’t had its reformation. Muslims haven’t enjoyed the benefits of several hundred years of people killing each over the finer points of interpretation over a few words in a religious text. The payoff for the Protestant reformation, once the dust settled, was the gradual undermining of all religion in the western. The beneficial side effect of the toe-to-toe slug-fest is that even casual observers easily conclude neither side has a monopoly on the truth. That is, IMHO, a perfect opportunity for people to notice the general uselessness, egotistical jealousy, pettiness and violence of all religions.

    Unfortunately, it seems that the blood of millions must be shed before most people notice that the error is not so much a matter of people holding the wrong religion as religion itself.

  8. John Morales says

    The erasing of historical details is deplorable, but at least it’s not essential knowledge being lost.

  9. Polymath Father says

    I’m going to go stuff a shirt in my mouth and scream quietly in the corner for a little while. Sometimes being an Archeologist is existentially painful.

  10. lorn says

    Polymath Father @9:
    One of my friends is a biologist specializing in endangered species. Usually upbeat he has a bout of depression about once a month. The recurring issue is that he gets hired to study endanger species but the information is almost never used to save the animals. He ends up providing first rate and highly detailed scientific documentation of the demise.

    He dreams of one day seeing his research used in a serious effort to save an ecosystem. So far … no joy.

  11. Trebuchet says

    The parallels between Islamists and some American Christians grow stronger every day.
    Hatred of education and knowledge? Check.
    Subjection of women? Check.
    Love of guns? Check.

    What’s really sad is that 1000 or so years ago, the Muslim world was the center of knowledge and education, far ahead of Europe. That’s why we use their numbers.

  12. Decker says

    The parallels between Islamists and some American Christians grow stronger every day.
    Hatred of education and knowledge? Check.
    Subjection of women? Check.
    Love of guns? Check.

    Have the Duggars ransacked the Met in New York, or something? Or have they taken a ball-peen hammer to The Piéta…

    How is that helpful? Your lame attempt at equivalency just minimizes and downplays the horrible cultural destruction taking place.

    That’s why we use their numbers.

    “Their” numbers are in fact Indo-Persian decimals that were already in use for several centuries before the rise of Islam. The “0” first appeared in Vedic manuscripts that go back more than a 1,000 years B.C.

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