Along with Barbie dolls and characters from “The Simpsons” TV show, statues of Buddha have now joined the list of banned items in Iran. Authorities in the conservative Muslim nation have started confiscating the statues from shops in the Iranian capital, Tehran.
According to Yahoo News, the government is cracking down on the statues in an effort to stop the promotion of Buddhism in the country.
Iran has boycotted items like Barbie dolls to help defuse Western influence in the country but this is the first time that government officials have shown an opposition to symbols from the East.
Saeed Jaberi Ansari, an official for the protection of Iran's cultural heritage, is believed to have called the Buddha statues symbols of “cultural invasion.” Ansari referred to the removal of the statues as a “cleansing,” and he does not know how many have been confiscated at this point.
It seems as if many people in Iran purchased their Buddha statues because of their aesthetics as opposed to having an interest in the religious aspects of the statue.
“As I understand, none of my customers cared about Buddhism, they only bought it for decoration,” said Reza Sanaei, a shopkeeper who sells the statues.
A customer at the store, Marjan Arbabi, said that even though she doesn’t care for the statues herself, her parents are big fans. “My parents have a set of five Buddah's statues at their home simply because they think the statues are beautiful,” she said.
Under the rules set forth in Iran’s constitution, Christian and Jewish beliefs are recognized, as is Zoroastrianism. Islam is the official religion of the country. It is unclear what the specific issue the Iranian government has with Buddhism is, but it may have to do with the fact that some Islamists do not support production of any statue, since they view it as a way to promote idols.
Source: (Yahoo News)