Suspected pro-Taleban militants have tried to blow up an ancient carving of Buddha in north-west Pakistan.
The statue, thought to date from the second century BC, sustained only minimal damage in the attack near Manglore in remote Swat district.
The area has seen a rise in attacks on "un-Islamic" targets in recent months.
This is the first such attack in Pakistan and is reminiscent of the Taleban's 2001 destruction of the giant Buddhas at Bamiyan in Afghanistan.
It is a miracle that there was only "minimal" damage, but I surely hope this serves as a wake up call to normal Pakistanis that fear this menace and to do something about it. They have no problem destroying remnants of our ancient Islamic heritage in Saudi Arabia, such as the Ottoman-era al-Ajyad fortress in Saudi Arabia, the the al-Askari shrine in Samarra, Iraq, and the Wahhabi raid of Karbala in 1801 where Imam Hussein's shrine was looted by the vandals, so what does remnants of non-Islamic heritage hurt them?
To the defenders of this lunacy, would you have been okay if suddenly the Spaniards decide to destroy remnants of their Islamic past in southern Spain? Would you accept the Hindus torching the Taj Mahal on the basis of again, being a remnant of India's Islamic past? Was the destruction of Babri Masjid by Hindu fanatics justified since it offended their sensitivities? Where does this madness end?
I know some are going to bring up the smashing of Idols in Makkah, but that's a moot point since THERE ARE NO BUDDHISTS IN SWAT OR NWFP IN THE FIRST PLACE! Buddhists don't even worship statues for crying out loud, so what Goddamn right do these fanatics have in destroying these statues? Will it improve the status of their people in that God-forsaken province? Will it help feed the poor? Instead of blowing up these statues, perhaps they can use the money they bought the explosives with and use it towards feeding their people or their families even?
How much longer before fanatics in Egypt engage in a mass-orgy of the destruction of ancient Egypt? How much longer before the pyramids of Giza are destroyed by these vigilante forces? Successive Muslim empires left them intact and did not bother to destroy them, so what logic can they suddenly start destroying them now?
If anyone in Pakistan is concerned about our culture and heritage that is currently under assault, then by all means stop these people with whatever means necessary. These wannabe mullah dogs have done nothing but ruined Pakistan AND Islam.