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Taliban thumbs nose at global outcry
AFP/PTI (Kabul, March 5)

AFGHANISTAN'S TALIBAN regime supreme leader Mulla Mohammad Omar on Monday said the destruction of Buddhist statues would go ahead despite international condemnation of the move.

In a message on the Islamic festival of Eid-Ul-Udha he said the statues, including the giant ancient Budhhas in the central province of Bamiyan, were only "one per cent" of Afghanistan's historical heritage.

"Now that we are destroying false idols, the world has made a drama out of this. The Muslims of the world, particularly Afghan Muslims, should use their common sense," he was quoted as saying by the militia mouthpiece "Radio Shariat".

"I would like to ask you do you prefer to be called statue-destroyers or statue-sellers?

"I would like to ask the world Muslims not to harmonize their voices with those of non-believers."

Meanwhile, US-based Indian cultural organisations have condemned the destruction of buddha statues in Bamiyan by the Taliban, calling it an "assault on human history and heritage unleashed by a barbaric regime".

"To defend and preserve religious freedom, nipping in the bud the evil of Talibanized islam must receive our priority attention. A frontal attack on the rich cultural heritage of the world cannot be ignored," Jagan Kaul, head of Diversity USA said.

He urged US President George Bush to lead collective action by the free world against the "rogue regime" assembled by Osama Bin Laden, adding "hell had let loose not only in Afghanistan but also in the Kashmir region".

"These jihadists have looted, desecrated and destroyed about 100 Hindu temples, more than 50,000 people have been murdered and close to 800,000 rendered homeless through a massive and inhuman wave of ethnic cleansing," he said.

"With these attacks against the non-Muslim religions, the Afghan renegade regime has brought the civilized and free world, where all religions live in relative harmony, face to face with a new crisis that has far-reaching consequences. The free world can ignore this threat only at its own peril."

Both Diversity-USA and the India Association of Siouxland called upon India, Nepal, China, Japan, Thailand, the United States and the UN to plan a collective response to this assault on human history.


Updated: 5-3-2001

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