Monday, February 27, 2006

Speechless and sad

Before and after images of the Abbasid al-Askariyya Shrine in Baghdad that suffered serious damage last week. I cannot quite figure out if these images depict the same entrance - in the after image, the iwan arch-way is gone. The minarets look the same, but the clock tower is gone. In any case, it is clear that the devastation is complete at this shrine to two imams which ironically attracted both Shiite and Sunni Muslims. Where does it end?


At 1:18 AM, February 28, 2006, Blogger Rebecca said...

When I first heard about this (over the phone from Sam) I thought it was the 9th century Great Mosque (al Mutawakkil) with its fabulous spiral minaret, because that too has been damaged by the war, and in its case in my opinion by US soldiers using the minaret for a sniper nest.

so I will admit to some relief that it wasn't the most important historical mosque in Samarra (arguably, but still) that was bombed. this doesn't mitigate the horror of what seems to be a move to instigate tension among religious groups within Iraq for the sole purpose of pushing the country into chaos, of course.

The second picture eliminates the outer gate, it looks like to me. that is, in the bombed pic we just see the entry to the prayer chamber/structure itself, but not the gate to the mosque compound, which includes the clock tower. it's an optical dilusion, as my father-in-law would joke...

At 1:35 AM, February 28, 2006, Blogger Rebecca said...

looking at it again, the second photo seems to be taken from the roof of the gate...

At 1:48 PM, February 28, 2006, Blogger Moksha said...

You're right - the merlons are good guides as to the perspective of the image.

I just heard an interesting series of interviews about this on NPR and the general consensus seemed to agree with you - that the move was a specifically incendiary one designed to convey a further perception of polarization between Sunnis and Shiias. They also commented on the growing sects of fundamentalist Wahabis who of course see Shiism as a corrupted version of Islam.


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