On Wednesday June 21, the great 12th Century al-Nuri mosque in Mosul was destroyed. It was in this religious space that Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi made his first public appearance as caliph during the Friday prayers on July 4, 2014, one month after ISIS’ occupation of Mosul, and a few days following the announcement of the Caliphate by Abū Muhammad al-Adnānī. The question that is now on many people’s minds is: who really destroyed the al-Nuri mosque?
André Gagné is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts (Department of Theological Studies) at Concordia University. He is also a Digital Fellow of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), as well as a research associate with the Centre d'expertise de formation sur les intégrismes religieux et la radicalisation (CEFIR). He works on political and religious violence, radicalization, global terrorism and countering violence extremism through education.