Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Islamists destroy Giant Buddha

I'll say it. Ignorant savages.

Islamist radicals in Pakistan have attempted to destroy an ancient carving of Buddha by drilling holes in the rock and filling them with dynamite.

The Buddha is thought to date from the seventh century AD

The 23ft high image was damaged during the attack, which brought back memories of the Taliban's destruction six years ago of the giant Buddhas at Bamiyan, in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The Buddha, in the Swat district of north-west Pakistan, is thought to date from the seventh century AD and was considered the largest in Asia, after the two Bamiyan Buddhas.

The explosion on Monday night damaged the upper part of the rock.

Pakistani troops have stepped up recent operations against militants in the fertile Swat valley, where thousands of locals are in thrall to Mullah Fazlullah, a rabble-rousing cleric who has called for suicide attacks and holy war. Fazlullah's men have continued to wage an offensive against what they deem 'un-Islamic' activity, last week blowing up dozens of music, video and cosmetics stalls at a market.

The Swat Valley used to be known as Pakistan's Switzerland, (Switzerstan?) and had a thriving tourism business, but that all changed when Mullah Fazlullah rode into town on his black horse...

...(Fazlullah) apparently rides a black horse and has thousands of followers willing to attack security forces on his command. He has also been labeled the FM maulana because his popularity has apparently come in large part because of the FM radio channel he operates -- without permission, of course -- in the area. In recent months, he was in the news after he told his followers not to let their children be administered polio drops because that was an American-Zionist plan to make them sterile.

Sounds like a real charmer, no? The police in the area up and ran from him and here's a Sept 26 editorial pleading for help in Swat.

Since Swat was attacked by the “FM mullah” Maulana Fazlullah on behalf of Al Qaeda in Waziristan, the Peshawar government has been biting its nails instead of acting. Fazlullah is the son-in-law of the leader of Tehreek Nifaz Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM) who led thousands of Pushtun youths to Afghanistan in 2001 and is now doing time in a Pakistani jail. The police has simply run away and the citizens of the Swat valley have been asked to fend for themselves. The citizens have therefore accepted the rule of Fazlullah and one can expect them to go the way of the people of South Waziristan now being ruled by Al Qaeda proxies. Although the army is under pressure, one still hopes that it can somehow get its act together for the sake of the nation. *