From a 1700-Year-Old Buddha Statue to a 75-Year-Old Buddhist: A Brief Account of Islamic Aggression By Krishna Priya
Sunday, March 21, 2021
Jihad Watch : While we have extensively discussed the atrocities unleashed by
Islamic jihadis upon Christians and Hindus, jihadis often perpetrate the
same atrocities against Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists. Together these
groups form micro-minorities on the Indian subcontinent.Though Buddhists have a strong presence in Myanmar and Sri Lanka,
they are still a minority in the subcontinent’s vast populations. So
what are the odds of those who have tormented the region’s largest
religious population, the Hindus, in their land, leaving the
BJP Politicians being attacked by Rohingyas in Bengal, India
I“You can be full of kindness and love, but you cannot sleep next to a
mad dog,” said the 52-year-old Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu of Myanmar.
He was referring to Muslims. We wonder, what could compel a peaceful
monk to come up with such a cruel comment?
In March 2001, the Islamic jihad group the Taliban blew up the
Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan. Standing tall at 38 meters and 55
meters, the twin statues were monumental wonders of ancient artistry
from the sixth century. But they were destroyed, as they in all their
grandeur were dismissed as “idols of the infidels” by Taliban leader
Mullah Mohammad Omar.
Seven years later, when the Tehreek-e-Taliban overran the Swat Valley
in Pakistan, the meditating statue of Buddha dating back to the seventh
century became one of its first casualties.
In July 2020, a 1700-year-old Buddhist idol,
discovered in Pakistan and believed to be a product of the Gandhara
civilization, was destroyed. At the behest of an Islamic cleric, four
construction workers took sledgehammers to the “un-Islamic” ancient
relic and smashed it into pieces. In 2013, Haider Ali, Mujibullah, Imtiyaz, and Tarique Ansari were
taken in custody for planting thirteen bombs in the Bodh Gaya temple
complex. This is a major Buddhist pilgrimage site in Bihar, India, and
is frequented by large groups of Buddhists from all corners of the
world. Though the explosives were recovered before they exploded, two
monks were severely injured in the mayhem. Taking the Myanmar situation
as a backstory to justify their long-contemplated violence against the
Buddhists, jihadis have often targeted them in countries in which the
Muslim population is dominant.
However, to think that they depend on an excuse to resort to violence
would be naive. The Nalanda University of India was a revered monastery
and the epicentre of learning from the fifth century to the twelfth
century CE. Supported by the Buddhist emperor, it was, in its era, what
Cambridge or Oxford is today. In 1193, the Turkish invader Muhammad
Bakhtiyar Khilji and his army of marauders descended on the treasury of
knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, medicine, and philosophy, and razed
it to the ground. The residential university housed 2000 teachers and
10,000 students, thousands of whom were beheaded or burned alive. The
mammoth collection of nine million manuscripts continued to burn for
Instances of pillage and plunder are recorded throughout history,
dating back to 712-13 CE, when the city of Bukhara, in present-day
Uzbekistan, was ravaged by the Arabs. Mosques replaced Buddhist
monasteries and Buddhist shrines were ground down across Central Asian
territories that were attacked by the Arab general of Khorasan, Qutaybah
In recent history, the Borobudur Buddhist temple in Magelang, Central
Java, Indonesia suffered major damage in 1985, after nine bombs planted
by Mohammad Jawad, Abdulkadir Ali Alhabsyi, and a blind Muslim
preacher, Husein Ali Al Habsyi, detonated at the site.
Another South Asian country, Bangladesh, receives huge grants from
international bodies for the development of its infrastructure and
living conditions. This aid has done little to educate Bangladesh’s
jihadis, who are armed to attack its minorities round the clock. When
it’s not the Hindus, they come for the Buddhists.
In 2012, twelve Buddhist temples and monasteries and 50 houses were
ransacked by a 25,000-strong local mob. An alleged Facebook post by a
Buddhist criticizing the Quran had fueled the fury. It was later found
that no Buddhist had made any such Facebook post.
In 2016, a 75-year-old Buddhist monk was hacked to death and his body
was recovered from a Buddhist temple in the district of Bandarban,
Bangladesh. He was just one of many from the minority community who have
been murdered by suspected jihadis during this time.
Buddhist monks have organized peaceful rallies demanding UN
intervention because of the incessant Islamic jihad attacks on the
Buddhists of Bangladesh. We are awaiting the UN’s action on the humble
We keep hearing so much about Uyghur Muslims being abused by the
Chinese government. That abuse is not justified. But what we are not
being told is that the Uyghurs were originally Buddhists of the Kingdom
of Qocho and Turfan. They were invaded and converted at swordpoint
during a “holy war” waged against the Buddhist kingdom by Chagatai Khizr
Khwaja. Many of the converted descendants retain no memory of their
Buddhist legacy and harbour the same attitude toward the “infidel” as
any regular jihadi would.
But again, isn’t it how any population that
has been converted to this ideology is relentlessly exhorted to think,
behave and function?