A teenage Christian boy from Iraq has come up with his own way of fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) — by recreating ancient Assyrian art destroyed by the jihadist group during its rampage in the region.
No one was able to do anything to stop ISIS militants from destroying the ancient Iraqi city of Nimrud and its archaeological treasures, but 17-year-old Nenous Thabit was determined to do something to help. The Assyrian Christian teen decided to replicate the destroyed sculptures, CNN details.
"They waged a war on art and culture, so I decided to fight them with art," Thabit told CNN.
In a video posted in April last year, ISIS militants are seen purportedly using sledgehammers, barrel bombs, drills to destroy the historic Assyrian city of Nimrud. The seven-minute clip shows the jihadists bulldozing and blowing up the ruins in the city, the Daily Mail reports.
One of the militants in the video says God has "honored" them to take down the idols and statues being worshiped by the people instead of Allah. Another ISIS fighter vows to "remove signs of idolatry and spread monotheism" each time they take over a certain area.
Based on a website tracking artifacts' damage, which is run by Columbia University student Christopher Jones, ISIS destroyed three Lamassu statues in Iraq. One was in Nimrud, the second was in the Nergal Gate of Nineveh, and the third one was in the Mosul Museum.
When ISIS razed Nimrud in 2015 in its bid to destroy "idolatrous" symbols, UNESCO labeled the act as a war crime. While taking refuge in an apartment in the Kurdish city of Erbil, the Iraqi teen started carving out an image of Assyrian deity Lamassu.
"Lamassu is my favorite statue. It is the strongest creature in the Assyrian heritage," Thabit added. "It has the head of a human, the body of a lion, the legs of an ox and the wings of a vulture."
In the last year, Thabit has finished 18 Assyrian statues and one mural. He told CNN that his sculptures send out a message that they will not be intimidated by ISIS.