Bangladesh joins Muslim outcry over destruction of Afghan Buddhas
DHAKA, March 8 (AFP) - Bangladesh on Thursday joined international outcry against a decision by Afghanistan's Taliban militia to destroy two famous Buddha figures, echoing the objections raised by other Muslim nations.
"I personally and also as the general secretary of the (ruling) Awami League strongly condemn the act," Zillur Rahman, also the local government minister, told AFP reacting.
Rahman refused to comment further on the issue. Predominantly Muslim Bangladesh had until now failed to make any official comment on the issue so far.
Rahman's remark came as hope appeared to be running out for the two colossal Buddhas at Bamiyan, carved into sandstone cliffs between the second and fifth centuries AD.
Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel on Thursday insisted that a decree by the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, ordering the total destruction of all statues in the country was "irreversible."
The Bangladesh Buddhist Federation has described the destruction of the Buddhist statues as a "barbaric" act.
"Such an act can only be described as barbaric and uncivilised, with the smell of hardline religious fundamentalism," the federation said, adding the act has "hurt the religious sentiments of Buddhists worldwide."
The move has also prompted international condemnation, including criticism from the Taliban's closest ally, Pakistan. Buddhists make up 0.06 percent of Bangladesh's 120 million population.
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