The stone carvings had been in Morroco’s High Atlas mountains for 8,000 years, and now they are lost forever—destroyed by Salafists, Muslims who believe in an interpretation of Islam that forbids idolatry.
“One of the carvings, called ‘the plaque of the sun,’ predates the arrival of the Phoenicians in Morocco,” Aboubakr Anghir, a member of the Amazigh (Berber) League for Human Rights, told the Agence France-Presse (AFP). “It lies in a well-known archaeological site in the Yakour plain south of Marrakesh, 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Mount Toubkal.”
“There are several Salafist groups active in the region and it’s not the first time these pre-Islamic sites have been attacked. We have sent a message to the ministry of culture, but have not yet received a reply,” he added.
The stone carvings were destroyed several days ago and is just the latest in a string of incidents in which historic and religious sites are destroyed.
AFP and the Washington Post reported that on Monday, October 15 a 500-year-old Sufi mausoleum was burned down by masked arsonists in Tunisia. AFP also reported that in northern Mali ancient World Heritage shrines considered idolatrous have been destroyed by radical Islamists.
The destruction of cultural sites happens much closer to home as well, just last month aboriginal petroglyphs on the Glenwood Erratic in Alberta, Canada were destroyed using a rock drill, acid and a power washer.