Destruction of books by ISIL terrorists in Iraq is "cultural cleansing"

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© Larisa EpatkoBrowsing titles at bookseller market in Iraq

The destruction of books by terrorists in northern Iraq has been described by the head of the UN cultural agency as "cultural cleansing".

According to reports, Islamic State or ISIL terrorists have over the past several weeks ransacked libraries and burned thousands of books in the city of Mosul.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

The books reportedly destroyed by ISIL extremists cover a wide range of topics, from children's stories to philosophy, law, science and poetry.

The head of the UN Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova has expressed alarm over the destruction of texts in the museums, libraries and universities of Mosul.

She said it "adds to the systematic destruction of heritage and the persecution of minorities that seek to wipe out the cultural diversity that is the soul of the Iraqi people."

If confirmed, Ms Bokova added, it would be one of the most "devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history."

She said such destruction is a cruel reminder that the nations of the world must remain united in combating fanaticism.

ISIL extremists have vowed to impose their interpretation of Islam by terrorising people in the territories it controls in Iraq and Syria.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 59″

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