Buddha joins Barbie and Bart Simpson in exile from Iran
In a bid to defuse Western influence in conservative Iran, the pariah state has run a decades-long campaign to boot the likes of Barbie and Bart Simpson out. These otherwise innocuous children’s characters are seen as a threat to the Persian state and have been officially banned from store shelves.
But in 2013, it seems Iran has turned its attention away from the iconic dolls and onto a very different kind of icon.
As part of a new move to crack down on religious opposition symbols from the East, Buddha could be sent to join Barbie in exile. The statue, which has become an international symbol for peace, has clearly been stirring trouble West of the Indian subcontinent.
On Sunday, a report in independent daily newspaper, Arman, claimed that authorities are currently confiscating Buddha statues from shops in Tehran to stop the promotion of the idol’s religion.
According to the newspaper, Saeed Jaberi Ansari, an official for the protection of Iran’s cultural heritage, called the Buddha statues symbols of "cultural invasion" in the Muslim nation.
Ansari told Arman that authorities would not allow a specific belief to be promoted through such items.
But quite aside from Iranian law, which says that, in general, the rights of all non-Muslims should be observed, for many the Buddha statues have nothing to do with religion at all.
The statues, which are usually made in China and come from Iranian free-trade zones in the Persian Gulf, are often seen as nothing more than something attractive to look at.
Reza Sanaei, a shopkeeper who sells the statues, told the newspaper: “As I understand, none of [the] customers cared about Buddhism, they only bought it for decoration."
One of Sanaei's customers, Marjan Arbabi, added: "My parents have set of five Buddha statues at their home simply because they think the statues are beautiful.”
While it remains unclear how many Buddha's have already been seized from the shelves, with the 'cleansing' reportedly set to continue, it looks like Buddha could await the same fate as the Western dolls before him.
What do you think of Iran's reported decision to take Buddha statues off the shelves? Share your comments with us below!
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