London Conference Highlights Destruction of Islamic Heritage Sites

London Conference Highlights Destruction of Islamic Heritage Sites

The conflict in Syria has brought to light the need to protect Muslim holy Sites and places of worship.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Takfiri militants fighting President Bashar al Assad have repeatedly threatened to destroy the Damascus Shrine of Sayedah Zaynab, the granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad.

And earlier this year the shrine of Hujr bin Adi al kindie a companion of the Prophet Muhammad was destroyed as the militants attempted to exhume his body.

That inspired the formation of a new group in London, the Save Muslim Heritage. The group aims to bring global awareness to the dangers these holy sites are exposed to. The Save Muslim Heritage held a conference over the weekend to mark their launch.

The conference was attended by hundreds of people and featured a panel of Islamic and Christian scholars and a Representative from the United Nations.

Organizers said they wanted this event to be the launching pad For future action to raise awareness about the destruction Of Muslim holy sites around the Middle East. Non-Muslim attendees said they found the event helpful but said that it should lead to future action to put pressure on governments around the world.

As well as focusing on Syria the conference also drew attention to the role played by Saudi Arabia a country that has funded the extremist Wahhabi ideology, which deems shrines to be against Islam.

The militants have also regularly attacked other sites which are considered holy and sacred by Syria's rich tapestry of religious groups.

Newly released footage shows Al Qaeda fighters taking over a church in the northern city of Al Raqaah and desecrating it.

The outcome of the war in Syria will decide the future of religious heritage sites, which have stood for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. Groups like Save Muslim Heritage are working to encourage communities in the west to lobby their governments to ensure those sites continue standing.