Ancient Mar Elian Monastery in Homs bulldozed by ISIS

Homs, SANA-Terrorists from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have bulldozed Mar Elian Monastery on the western outskirts of al-Qaryatein city, 85 km from the central city of Homs.

According to local sources, terrorists used bulldozers to raze the 1,500-year-old monastery, leaving it completely flattened.

The monastery, which dates back to the 4th century AD, is deemed a center for interfaith dialogue in the heart of al-Qaryrtein city. It is also a key refuge for displaced people who fled terrorist organizations.

Father Phillip Barakat told SANA that ISIS crime is condemned by all faiths and human and divine laws, lamenting the destruction of the monastery that housed scores of displaced families.

Mar Elian is also the place where priest Jacques Mourad was abducted back in May. Mourad was known to help both Christians and Muslims and was preparing aid for the arrival of hundreds of refugees from Palmyra.

In a statement to SANA, director of the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) Ma’moun Abdelkarim said that the act of bulldozing Mar Elian Monastery by ISIS is a crime that seeks to wipe out pages from Syria’s history.

He said that bulldozing a religious site that had been standing unharmed since the 5th century AD shows how far ISIS has gone with its criminal acts, and that the fact that such an act occurred in the 21st century is unimaginable.

ISIS has already destroyed more than 90 % of Islamic shrines in the eastern and northeastern areas acting upon ideological motives stemming from their Takfiri mentality, Abdelkarim noted.

Besides those, he added, ISIS has destroyed tens of churches and Christian holy places in the eastern provinces of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.

ISIS has a bleak track record of destroying and bombing out Muslim and Christian places of worship which it views as opposed to its religious beliefs. The fate of Mar Elian Monastery was previously visited on the Virgin Mary church in Hasaka, Muhammad bin Ali and Abu Bahaaeddin shrines in Palmyra and al-Rawi Tekkiye in Deir Ezzor.

Manal / Hazem Sabbagh/H. Said

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