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Stolen art threatens Iraqi culture, funds terrorism, says Iraq museum chief

[JURIST] The director of Iraq's looted [missing artifacts database] National Museum warned a UNESCO meeting [official website] of the International Coordinating Committee to Safeguard the Cultural Heritage of Iraq Thursday that the purchase of stolen artifacts [BBC report] from Iraq is funding terrorist activity. "Rich people are buying stolen material . . . Money is going to Iraq and (terrorist groups) are buying weapons and ammunition to use against Iraqi police and American forces," Donny George [NPR interview] said. The UNESCO group is examining, planning, and creating new policies to reinforce international cooperation to safeguard Iraq's heritage. According to the committee, "Iraq's cultural treasures have been subjected to severe damage, including destruction, pillaging, and vandalism, during the revent conflict." George praised police in the US for doing an "excellent job" of reducing the flow of stolen artifacts there, but said many objects are still arriving there. The committee praised Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Italy, Saudi Arabia and the US for efforts to hold Iraqi artifacts for safekeeping, but requested more cooperation from Turkey and Iran. AP has more.

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