Destructive trends in contemporary armed conflicts and the overlooked aspect of intangible cultural heritage : a critical comparison of the protection of cultural heritage under IHL and the Islamic law of armed conflict / Victoria Arnal
Destructive trends in contemporary armed conflicts and the overlooked aspect of intangible cultural heritage : a critical comparison of the protection of cultural heritage under IHL and the Islamic law of armed conflict
The destruction of cultural heritage in armed conflicts has gained increasing political momentum and visibility over the last two decades. Syria, Iraq and Mali, among others, have witnessed the intentional destruction of their cultural heritage by non-State armed groups (NSAGs) that have invoked Islamic law and principles to legitimize their actions. The response of the international community has predominantly focused on the material aspect, to the detriment of the significant impact on the associated intangible manifestation of cultural heritage in local communities. This article argues that several Islamic legal rules and principles may, more adequately than international humanitarian law, safeguard the intangible dimension of cultural heritage in certain contemporary armed conflicts in Muslim contexts. It aims to demonstrate the importance of drawing from multiple legal traditions in order to enhance the protection of intangible cultural heritage in armed conflicts and to strengthen engagement with the relevant NSAGs.
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