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Monday, 5 March, 2001, 08:11 GMT
Bamiyan statues: World reaction
Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama urged respect for other religions
Political and religious leaders across Asia and the rest of the world have, with few exceptions, expressed indignation at the Afghan Taleban's decision to destroy the Buddhist statues in Bamiyan:

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama:

"I am deeply concerned at the possible destruction of the Bamiyan statues of Buddha in Afghanistan at a time when there is a closer understanding and better harmony among different religious traditions of the world."

Spokesman for official Buddhist Association of China:

"Chinese Buddhist circles are concerned about this decision, which deeply offends the feelings of Buddhists. We urge the Taleban to halt this destructive act immediately."

Spokesman for Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori:

"The Japanese Government is deeply concerned. Those statues are assets to all human beings."

Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee:


Such people have no regard for the feelings of humanity.

Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee

"Those who are ruling Afghanistan are not Muslims, as this kind of an act can only be done by uncultured people... Such people have no regard for the feelings of humanity."

Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala:

"Why are we silent when Sri Lanka and other countries, including the US, are protesting against the demolition of Buddha statues in the present Islamic country? I want to condemn the Taleban government as the prime minister of Nepal from this platform."

Iranian Foreign Ministry:

"Unfortunately, the Taleban's destruction of the statues has cast doubts on the comprehensive views offered by Islamic ideology in the world. Clearly, Muslims across the world pin the blame on the rigid-minded Taleban and by no means embroil the Afghan Muslims in this counter-cultural move."

Foreign Ministry of Qatar, current chairman of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference:

The Bamiyan statues "belong to the whole of mankind and they should be preserved".

Russian Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoy:

"I am sure that a movement that treats historic and cultural monuments this way will collapse... People who treat monuments in this way are digging their own grave."

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Aleksiy II:

"Barbarism."

G-8 statement after summit in Trieste:

A "deeply tragic decision".

Gen Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence:

"This is their [the Taleban's] way of forcing the world to pay attention, to take them seriously".

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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See also:

04 Mar 01 | South Asia
UN 'fails' to save Afghan statues
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