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The Temple of Bel in Palmyra, Syria, was a historic site for 2,000 years

ISIS could fund future terrorism with looted antiquities

CNN  — 

With hundreds of people dying in Syria every week, why should the world care that ISIS strapped barrels of explosives to the Temple of Bel?

Because the terror group did much more than just blow up a 2,000-year-old temple. It annihilated a significant piece of religious and cultural history, not just for Syria but for the entire world.

And ISIS’ destruction affects not just the past; it also has big ramifications for the present and future. Here’s how:

It helps ISIS’ mission

ISIS is on a murderous campaign to wipe out the histories of Iraq and Syria and replace them with an Islamist state and its brand of Sharia law.

Satellite images show what the ancient Temple of Bel looked like before and after ISIS destroyed it.

Blasting away the temple in Palmyra, Syria, helps ISIS do just that. It’s part of the terror group’s “staged cultural desecration,” wrote Sturt W. Manning, chairman of the Department of Classics at Cornell University.

“The West’s response should be to remember – and to provide educational resources to keep the rich and plural histories of Syria and Iraq alive and available, especially to those presently t