Taj Mahal faces fresh threats from Saudi Terror groups

via http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1113210 published on August 2, 2007

LUCKNOW: The Taj Mahal may have recently made it to the new seven wonders list but it now faces the threat of destruction from a new terrorist group based in Saudi Arabia. The group, mainly comprising students, has been circulating a fatwa issued by clerics belonging to the Wahabi sect of Muslims for demolition of all ostentatious tombs and mausoleums. Taj Mahal, Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and other such historical monuments could be on the target of this group.


The startling revelation was made by renowned cleric and President of the All India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB) Mirza Mohd Athar here on Wednesday. “The Saudi Arabian government is under the influence of Wahabis. They are out to destroy our sacred mausoleums,” he said, adding: “According to Wahabis any form of ostentation in religion is un-Islamic. This is extreme intolerance. I would call it complete madness.”

The fatwa issued by the Wahabi clerics calls for destroying Imam Hussain’s mazaar in Karbala, Hazrat Ali’s grave in Najaf, the mausoleum of Hazrat Ali’s daughter Zainab in Syria, Sayed Al-Badawi’s maqbara and Masjid-e-Imam Hussain in Egypt, among other such monuments venerated equally by the Shia and Sunni sects.

Students of the Mohammad bin Saud University, he said, had formed groups to carry out these attacks. A large number of students have reportedly been absent from the university for the past three years. These students are learnt to have joined terrorist groups to accomplish the task entrusted to them by the Wahabi clerics.

“The Wahabis want to hijack the entire community with gun power and petro-dollars,” the revered Shia Maulana told reporters. “Their destruction will not be limited to West Asia and adjoining countries. Monuments like the Taj Mahal, the Humayun Tomb and Lucknow’s famous Bara Imambara would also be on their target soon,” he said.

Already, the Wahabis have struck at several places of Islamic worship, mostly those belonging to the Shias. The Shias’ holy Askariya shrine in Samara (Iraq) was destroyed last year. A congregation at Nashtar Park in Karachi was targeted on Barawafat last year; several Sunni ulemas died in the attack.

Saudi Culture and Information Minister Iyad Madani and Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Ibn Nayef, on the other hand, said the attribution of such fatwa to Saudi clerics is surprising. “We have repeatedly said that we strongly condemn any attacks targeted against the holy Shiite and Sunni sites,” said the officials.

UP home secretary Mahesh Gupta said, “We will definitely look into the matter if a senior Muslim cleric has made a public statement.” Zafaryab Jilani, Member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said he is not aware of any such threat. “The fact that Saudi Arabia and Iran have never had good political relations might be behind this,” he said.

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