Center for Strategic Communication

[ by Charles Cameron — the destruction by ISIS of the shrine of a remarkable Muslim saint, to be followed by a glimpse of the man himself ]

First, the destruction of the shrine of Uways in Raqqa:


I am not sure when the picture was taken, but it was clearly before the next two…

Immediately before:


These are two shots from a four-shot sequence from an ISIS video, which Aaron Zelin tweeted on 15 May and which you can watch as an animated .gif also dated the 15th here.


Perhaps the most devastating record of the aftermath is found in this video, posted on May 16th on a site titled Chechens in Syria:

The video was accompanied by the following commentary:

Russian-speaking jihadis linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham have posted footage of a Shia mosque in Raqqa that was bombed by ISIS in March. Social media accounts run by the Chechen and Russian-speaking pro-ISIS group behind FiSyria, a website linked to Umar Shishani’s faction in ISIS, posted the three and a half minute video on Thursday.

The video shows the ruins of the Ammar bin Yasir and Uwais al-Qarani Mosque in Raqqa, a Shia mosque which was all but destroyed when ISIS detonated bombs inside it on March 11. The mosque, a pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims, was built with support from Iran. The text accompanying the video says the mosque was a place of “shirk” (polytheism or idolatry).

The video also shows footage of the area around the mosque, where pickup trucks with ISIS fighters are driving past.

The date of the attack, then, was apparently March 11.

Confusing the timeline somewhat, ARA News reported from Urfa, Turkey with a dateline May 16, 2014 :

Al-Qaeda splinter group of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) bombed on Thursday the shrine of Uwais al-Qarni (a religious shrine of the Shiite Islamic sect) in Raqqa province, northeast Syria. Faisal Khalif, a resident of Raqqa, confirmed to ARA News that the ISIL militants destroyed a part of the shrine’s building on March 26, “and it was fully destroyed at seven o’clock this morning, after filling it with explosives”.

And today, 19th May, the AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA) posted a report titled Foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists operating in Syria destroyed a Shia shrine in the northern province of Raqqa:

Foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists operating in Syria destroyed a Shia shrine in the northern province of Raqqa. The armed insurgents attacked the shrine of Uwais al-Qarani in yet another vicious act that they have demonstrated since the beginning of the foreign-hatched conflict in Syria. Raqqa province has been under the control of a Takfiri group known as the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) recently. In March, militants from an al-Qaeda splinter group have bombed a large Shia Muslim shrine in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa. Photos of the mosque of Ammar bin Yasir and Uwais al-Qarani posted on the internet showed extensive damage to the exterior walls and roof of the site.


In a follow-up post, I hope to indicate something of the fascinating man, Uways, whose tomb this was.