ISIS smashes Assyrian statues in Mosul, Iraq.
Elliott Colla, associate professor of Arabic studies at Georgetown University, has joined the herd of Middle East studies professors who insist that Islam has nothing to do with widespread destruction of antiquities by the Islamic State (ISIS). Rather than appealing to Islamic texts or traditions to defend Islam, however, Colla deploys a two-fold strategy of feigning ignorance about ISIS and contextualizing their horrific acts within the intellectual and material legacy of Western colonial archaeology. As a result, in whitewashing Islamism Colla degrades the worth of ancient civilizations and their artifacts while training his moral outrage on Western colonialism, particularly the archaeological digs it sponsored and the museums these enterprises filled.
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