DAP calls for convening of emergency Parliament for all political parties to  unanimously condemn the Taliban medieval barbarism in destroying the 2,000-year-old Buddhist statues and to be in the international  forefront to save  the world’s tallest standing Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan

Media Conference Statement
DAP Damansara School “SOS” signature campaign at Kebun Bunga, Penang
Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Sunday): Parliament should convene an emergency meeting for all political parties to unanimously condemn the Taliban medieval barbarism in destroying the 2,000-year old Buddhist statues and to be in the international  forefront to save  the world’s tallest standing Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan

This is all the more  imperative as Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban milita has defied world opinion and outrage and said yesterday that the destruction of ancient Buddhist masterpieces in central Bamiyan was in full swing.

The Taliban Minister of Information and Culture Mawlawi Qudratullah Jamal said statues all over the country, including the world’s tallest standing Buddha in Bamiyan, would be totally destroyed within four days and that soldiers had already begun firing mortars and cannons at the Buddhist statues.

The Taliban vandalism of the 2,000-year-old Buddhist artefacts, which include the 6,000 statues in the Kabul Museum, is not only destroying the history of civilization, but is damaging the cause of both Afghanistan and Islam.

As a former Afghan Cabinet  minister said,  the Buddhist  statues are no longer a part of religion but are now a part of the country's heritage and history, like the tombs of Egypt's ancient Pharaohs.

This is why the destruction of the Buddhist statues has drawn fire from other Muslim countries and groups around the world.

Iran is a leading voice in the Islamic world condemning the obscurantist and un-Islamic Taliban crimes against humanity.
It said in an official statement: "We condemn the  destruction of statues of Buddha which are treasures of mankind just like the Taj  Mahal or Imam Square.

“It is very strange that centuries after the Afghan people became Muslims, and received the strength of Islam ... certain people who claim to be religious accuse  some of anathema and idolatry.”

The English-language Iran News slammed the Taliban edict and other decrees of the Afghan regime, which "issued under the name of Islam are in fact tarnishing the image of this sacred  religion.

"Islam has never preached the destruction of objects that embody the belief and history of millions of people throughout the world.

“Through their irrational acts, the Taliban are proving once again that they are not only against the history and culture of their own people, but they are also working hard to deny the Afghan people their future."

Even the Taleban's closest ally and one of only three countries to recognize the government -- Pakistan -- has pleaded for the second time in two days  with the militia to spare the statues and rescind the destruction order.

"Respect for other religions and for their beliefs is enjoined upon Muslims," the Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said.

As a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation which has always styled itself as a model plural nation in international forums, Malaysia must be in the forefront of the international campaign to condemn the Taliban’s medieval barbarism and to save the priceless Buddhist artefacts from destruction.

The Indian Parliament had expressed unanimous condemnation of the Taliban intent to destroy the two Buddha statues in Bamiyan.  In  an unanimous resolution adopted  by both Houses of Parliament, India condemned ``in the strongest  possible terms'' the Taliban's decision to destroy the statues  and  offered to bring the monuments to its soil.

Malaysia cannot  and should not be behind other countries in our denunciation of the Taliban’s `religious fanaticism  and  appalling act of cultural vandalism and terrorism and should play its role to rally the international society, the world community and the United Nations to prevail upon the Taliban regime to desist from the senseless barbarism and anti-civilisational destruction of priceless heritage of humanity.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman