USA TODAY: In Iraq, echoes of Taliban’s cultural purges


In Iraq, echoes of Taliban’s cultural purges

ISTANBUL — Ancient statues whispering of civilizations lost. Religious shrines from the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths. Tombs with relics and bones testifying to this region as the Cradle of Civilization — and where, in the city-states of Mesopotamia millennia ago, the world’s first written language was born. The land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers has an estimated half-a-million archaeological sites and countless priceless artifacts. Only recently recovered and restored following the 2003 war in Iraq, they are nonetheless in danger once again, this time from Islamic extremists taking over large swaths of Iraq who deem this rich heritage “un-Islamic.”

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