The residents fear that the move could trigger violence
The Taliban have replaced the statue of a Hazara leader declared a national martyr by the former government with a replica of the Koran, Bamiyan residents said on Thursday — a move they warned could trigger violence.
The original statue depicted Abdul Ali Mazari, a leader of the mostly Shia minority killed while he was a prisoner of the Taliban during their first stint in power. The statue was decapitated by a rocket-propelled grenade soon after the Taliban returned to power in August, in an incident residents blamed on the hard-line Islamists.
The Taliban’s strict interpretation of Islam forbids the human form to be depicted in paintings and sculpture — and printed photographs in extreme cases. Many businesses have removed or covered up billboards and posters featuring people since the group’s takeover.
“Yesterday, they completely removed the statue and replaced it with a replica of the Koran,” said Abdul Danishyar, a civil society activist in Bamiyan. “They are trying to wipe out the history from Bamiyan, the people are going to react violently to this.”
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