Along with the likes of Bart Simpson, figurines of Eastern spiritual icon are rounded up by cultural protection authorities.
Buddha statues have joined Barbie dolls and characters from “The Simpsons” TV cartoon as banned items in the conservative Muslim nation.
Authorities are confiscating Buddha statues from shops in the Iranian capital, Tehran, to stop the promotion of Buddhism in the country, according to a report Sunday in the independent Arman daily.
Iranhas long fought against items, such as Barbie toys, to defuse Western influence, but this appears to be the first time that Iranian authorities are showing an opposition to symbols from the East.
The newspaper quoted Saeed Jaberi Ansari, an official for the protection of Iran’s cultural heritage, as calling the Buddha statues symbols of “cultural invasion.” He said authorities will not permit a specific belief to be promoted through such items. Ansari did not say how many Buddhas had been seized, but that the “cleansing” would continue.
Under the constitution, Christian and Jewish beliefs as well as Zoroastrianism are recognized beside Islam, the official religion of the country. The law, however, says that, in general, the rights of all non-Muslims should be observed.
Some Islamists do not support production of any statue, since they view it as a way to promote idols.