Dear Editor:

I have great respect for Mr Isa's scholarship and well meaning opinion piece about the destruction of the statues by the Taliban. However, Mr Isa completely ignores the fact that idols were broken all across Arabia after the conquest of Mecca, Similarly, they were broken during the Protestant reform and after Constantine became Christian.

Mr Isa has deliberately stayed away from the ample Hadith and historical material on the subject. Mr Irfan Hussain's piece was predictable Islam bashing.

Today, the breaking of idols is a symbolic act, as icons held sacred by the Western Civilization. Human beings, the potential Buddhas, are less important than statues of stone and dust in the schema of the West. We have not heard of any substantial help for the Afghan drought victims or the amputees from Russian mines. There is no help from the West, only sanctions. In spite of the fact that the West owes the liberation of Eastern Europe, the reunification of the Germanies and freedom of Central Asian countries to the blood of the million and one half Afghan martyrs. Has Mr Kofi Annan ever asked Russia, the successor state of the Soviet Union, to provide compensation for the destruction of Afghanistan. The US for its part has provided billions of dollars in aid to Russia. Suddenly, the West is up in arms, along with its running dogs, the Indians, because Western gods ('art') are being smashed.

Remember Dresden, an open city, bombed. How many churches destroyed. Remember the fire storm of Tokyo, the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. How many Buddhas and statues destroyed? The victims are even forbidden to protest.

Remember the Yemeni quarter of Jerusalem. It was bulldozed by the Israelis after 1967. Remember the burning of the mimbar in Al-Aqsa mosque dating to Saladin's time.

The dynamiting of mosques by the Serbs all over the Balkans. The destruction of Babri masjid by Hindu mobs allied to the Government of India. The ban on prayer in mosques in Turkey converted into tourist temples. The destruction of Aql Takht by the Indian Army. Seen in this light the pronouncements on the Taliban by the Indian Parliament are indeed a crude joke.

The intense bombing of Iraq where virtually every square kilometer is hallowed ground for archeologists. The US cruise missile attack on mosques in Afghanistan. Has anybody paid compensation to the victims?

Messrs Isa and Hussain have been silent on these issues. Now they predictably join their masters in the chorus against the Taliban.

When the Soviet Union fell, statues of Lenin and Stalin were pulled down and destroyed. There was no protest by the West. We were told that the Russian people were repudiating their past and joining the glorious capitalist world. This, in spite of the fact that there were still committed communists in Russia. There are no Buddhists in Afghanistan.

Well, the Taliban are also repudiating their past and their actions has exposed the hypocrisy of the West and regimes imposed on the Muslims. Silent on human tragedy and suffering these hypocrites now come out of the wood work to protect dust and stone. The most laughable of all is Mr Moinuddin Haider's role. Somebody should read Iqbal to him.

But shikan uth gaiy, baqi jo rahey but ger hain
Tha Ibrahim pidr or pisr azar hain

Myth of Iranian commitment to Islam has also been exposed by the Taliban. Gone are the days of Khomeini. Iran is now an Sectarian National state.

Teepu Siddique, MD

2001-03-13 Tue 13:05ct