Sunday March 18, 2018

17-year-old Assyrian Christian Artist Nenous Thabit is resisting Islamic State (ISIS) Terrorism with Art

The United Nations cultural agency UNESCO has condemned the destruction at Nimrud as a war crime

Nenous Thabit, Facebook

November 21, 2016: A 17-year-old Assyrian Christian artist and sculptor is resisting terrorism – with art. Nenous Thabit, who is from Mosul, fled the Islamic State as the group overtook the area two years ago.

A year after the initial invasion, ISIS also destroyed the ancient city of Nimrud, which is near Mosul and contained many historic artefacts and priceless works of ancient art because to them, these mere relics only symbolised idol worshipping, mentioned CNN.

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The United Nations cultural agency UNESCO has condemned the destruction at Nimrud as a war crime. “They waged a war on art and culture, so I decided to fight them with art,” Thabit told CNN.

“In Iraq, there are people who are killed because they are sculptors; because they are artists. ISIS views them as apostate,” he told CNN in an interview over the phone.

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Over the past year, Thabit has sculpted 18 Assyrian statues and one mural; the report said. He has also started sculpting workshops for kids. The destruction included three Lamassu sculptures – depicting a deity with the head of a man, the legs of an ox, the body of a lion and the wings of a vulture. Thabit can make a new one in about 15 days. This assault on his heritage and culture made him realise his true potential and fight against evil in a nonviolent yet threatening way, mentioned CNN.

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In the video released by ISIS, it showed the militants using sledgehammers and electric drills in order to destroy the artefacts. Such insults to a 3,000-year-old city that stands as the pride of a community could not be tolerated by an art-lover like Thabit. He is now sculpting the statues that resembled some of those destroyed in Nimrud in an apartment in the Kurdish city of Urbil where he and his family took refuge, Assyrian International News Agency reported.

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Facebook, Twitter Urged to Do More to Police Hate on Sites

Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA

Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are taking steps to police terrorists and hate groups on their sites, but more work needs to be done, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Tuesday.

The organization released its annual digital terrorism and hate report card and gave a B-plus to Facebook, a B-minus to Twitter and a C-plus to Google.

Facebook spokeswoman Christine Chen said the company had no comment on the report. Representatives for Google and Twitter did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

ALSO READ: Social Media: Here is how it is creating Lifestyle pressure on Youth!

Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay
Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, said Facebook in particular built “a recognition that bad folks might try to use their platform” as its business model. “There is plenty of material they haven’t dealt with to our satisfaction, but overall, especially in terms of hate, there’s zero tolerance,” Cooper said at a New York City news conference.

Rick Eaton, a senior researcher at the Wiesenthal Center, said hateful and violent posts on Instagram, which is part of Facebook, are quickly removed, but not before they can be widely shared.

He pointed to Instagram posts threatening terror attacks at the upcoming World Cup in Moscow. Another post promoted suicide attacks with the message, “You only die once. Why not make it martyrdom.”

Cooper said Twitter used to merit an F rating before it started cracking down on Islamic State tweets in 2016. He said the move came after testimony before a congressional committee revealed that “ISIS was delivering 200,000 tweets a day.”

ALSO READ: Teenagers using Social Media more likely to suffer sleep deprivations: Study

This photo shows Facebook launched on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017. VOA

Cooper and Eaton said that as the big tech companies have gotten more aggressive in shutting down accounts that promote terrorism, racism and anti-Semitism, promoters of terrorism and hate have migrated to other sites such as, a Facebook lookalike that’s based in Russia.

There also are “alt-tech” sites like GoyFundMe, an alternative to GoFundMe, and BitChute, an alternative to Google-owned YouTube, Cooper said.

“If there’s an existing company that will give them a platform without looking too much at the content, they’ll use it,” he said. “But if not, they are attracted to those platforms that have basically no rules.”

The Los Angeles-based Wiesenthal Center is dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, hate, and terrorism. (VOA)