The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas will leave two giant holes in the Bamiyan cliff face as the  universal symbol of Islamic intolerance and fanaticism

Media statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Saturday): It has been reported that the Taliban Islamic militia has blown off the head of the larger of  the two ancient colossal Buddha statues in central Bamiyan province in Afghanistan, in total contempt of international opinion and world-wide outrage at their  cultural atrocities against the priceless heritage of mankind.

The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press reported that  the ruling militia used "explosives" to destroy the head on the 50-metre tall statue, the largest standing Buddha in the world.

Carved into a sandstone mountain near the provincial capital between the second and fifth centuries AD, the two Bamiyan Buddhas  are considered masterpieces of Buddhist art. The destruction of the  two Bamiyan Buddhas will leave  two giant holes in the Bamiyan cliff face which will stand as  the universal symbol of Islamic intolerance and fanaticism - a great disservice to the cause of Islam, inter-religious harmony and inter-civilisational dialogue. This is why all religions, and in particular Islamic leaders and scholars, should speak out loud and clear to condemn  the cultural vandalism and religious intolerance perpetrated by  the Taliban.

It is most tragic that this year's United Nations Year of Inter-Civilisational Dialogue should be marred by the most atrocious crimes against civilisation with the Taliban militias attacking the ancient Buddhist statues with mortar, cannons, tanks  and tools such as spades and hammers.

China has joined the international condemnation of the crime against civilisation perpetrated by the Taliban militias and it is time the Malaysian Government take a strong stand to support the condemnation of the Taliban medieval barbarism.

DAP reiterates its call on the Government to convene the nation's second all-party conference to unanimously give voice to the Malaysian conscience in the international arena where all political parties and  Malaysians, whether in government or opposition, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs, could unite to condemn the obscurantist and unIslamic Taliban vandalism of  universal human heritage in destroying ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan.

*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman