Christian family struggles to defend 3,000 year-old tomb of Jewish prophet from Islamic State threat

Christian family struggles to defend 3,000 year-old tomb of Jewish prophet from Islamic State threat

Covered by a silky green sheet, the carefully preserved tomb of a Jewish prophet could be under threat of jihadi destruction.

The purported tomb of Nahum lies in the northern Iraqi city of Al-Qosh, resting in one of country’s few remaining synagogues. The 2,700 year-old tomb has been safeguarded by an Assyrian Christian family since Jews fled the city in the 1950s, reports Haaretz.

But now the Islamic State menace looms just 10 miles away, risking the city’s religious heritage. Al-Qosh is also 30 miles north of Mosul, where the terror organization has tightly controlled Iraq’s second-largest city since last summer.

Asir Salaam Shajaa of the Christian family caring for the tomb told Haaretz:

When the last Jewish people in Al-Qosh left, they asked my grandfather to watch over the tomb, to keep it safe. I don’t know much more than that.

Nahum is not our prophet, but he is a prophet, so we must respect that. He’s a prophet, it is simple.

Shajaa has an unobstructed view of the tomb from his living room, and his wife sweeps the floors every week, according to Haaretz. Visitors may inquire at Shajaa’s home, and he will readily unlock the gate.

Less than a dozen Jewish pilgrims visit the site yearly, and most visitors are fighters from the Kurdish Peshmerga, according to Shajaa.

Nahum poetically foretold the end of the Assyrian Empire and destruction its capital city in the 7th century B.C. He was known as Nahum the Elkoshite, his location sometimes written like Al-Qosh, lending credence to the tomb actually belonging to the prophet.

Islamic State militants destroyed the tomb of Jonah last summer. The Jewish prophet was famously swallowed by a whale for refusing to evangelize in Ninevah.

This report, by Erica Wenig, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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