When Islamic State gunmen stormed the Mosul Cultural Museum and filmed themselves taking sledgehammers to 3,000-year-old Assyrian statues in 2015, museum director Zaid Ghazi watched the images online aghast.
Mr. Ghazi was at his home in Mosul, unable to go to work since the militants had seized the city, one of Iraq’s largest, and made it the crown jewel of their self-proclaimed caliphate.
He later learned that Islamic State militants had set fire to the museum’s library of 25,000 books.
“It showed the deep hatred in their hearts.”The museum is a symbol of a multicultural version of Iraqi society that Islamic State tried to obliterate during the three years it ruled Mosul before being driven from the city in 2017.
Founded in 1952, the secular, public institution showcases thousands of years of Iraq’s history, including extensive exhibits on pre-Islamic times.
Zaid Ghazi, Ghazi, ”
Islamic State, Mosul Cultural Museum, Islamic, Smithsonian Institution