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February 22 2013

Why extreme Islamists are intent on destroying cultural artifacts


LONDON -- They have destroyed the iconic Buddhas of Bamiyan, smashed down the fabled “end of the world” gate in the ancient city of Timbuktu and even called for the destruction of Egypt’s ancient pyramids and the Sphinx.

Extreme Islamist movements across the world have developed a reputation for the destruction of historic artifacts, monuments and buildings.

This week, officials confirmed that up to 2,000 manuscripts at Mali's Ahmed Baba Institute had been destroyed or looted during a 10-month occupation of Timbuktu by Islamist fighters. Some experts have compared the texts to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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