„When the morality police belonging to the extremist group known as the Islamic State arrested him in Mosul, Sadoun didn’t know what to expect. He thought he might be flogged for his crime of selling cigarettes, fined, imprisoned or, worst of all, put to death. But none of this happened. Instead after spending three weeks of November in a prison in the northern city controlled by the Islamic State, or IS, group, Sadoun was told to prepare to go to a graveyard.
But this was not because his own demise was being planned. ‚The next day they blindfolded us and put us in a car which drove for a short time,‘ Sadoun, who is in his 20s, tells NIQASH. ‚We found ourselves in a large graveyard and I heard from the other prisoners who thought they recognised it, that we were in a graveyard in the west of the city. There were 12 of us and one of the IS fighters gave me a shovel and told me: »There are 50 graves here. You should go in and destroy them. We don’t want to see any trace of these graves«.‘
Apparently this attempt to rid the cemeteries in Mosul of their graves was part of a new campaign instituted by the IS group to ‚remove all traces of polytheism‘ in the city. ‚The militants want to ban the gravestones and the tombs because they are a way of venerating the dead,‘ explains Mohammed Abdul-Wahab al-Shama, a religious scholar and cleric who was also the spokesperson for Mosul‘s Nabi Younis mosque, which the extremist group destroyed last year. ‚They want to level all the graves so that the people are not distracted in any way from worshipping God. These people are sick,‘ says al-Shama, who fled Mosul and now lives in nearby Dohuk. ‚They are distorting Islam in a terrible way.‘ (Das irakische Nachrichtenportal Niqash: The War Against Idolatry: Extremists in Mosul Force Their Prisoners To Vandalise Graves)