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Iraq: condemning destruction of shrine, UNESCO urges end to 'cultural cleansing'

India Blooms News Service | | 29 Oct 2014, 09:33 am
New York, Oct 29 (IBNS) The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) strongly condemned the destruction of the Imam Dur shrine in the governorate of Salah-e-Din in Iraq, and called for an end to such acts of "cultural cleansing."

“Such acts are war crimes,” said Irina Bokova, noting in a press release that the destruction of the Imam Dur Mausoleum is not an isolated case.

“The cultural cleansing underway in Iraq must stop. The persecution of ethnic and religious minorities, combined with the systematic destruction of some of the most iconic representations of Iraq’s rich and diverse heritage, testifies to an ideology of hatred and exclusion,” she added.

Hailing the shrine – which was built during the eleventh century A.D. – as one of the emblematic representations of Islamic architecture of its time, the Director-General said that the perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions.

Bokova lamented that the intentional targeting and systematic destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq was reaching unprecedented levels. “Over the past months, we have witnessed similar attacks on historical buildings, in particular mosques, churches and shrines,” she noted.

“UNESCO stands by all Iraqis in their efforts to safeguard their heritage, a heritage for mankind,” she added.

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm