Mufti reports to Mubarak on Afghanistan mission
Egypt, Local, 3/15/2001
The Mufti of Egypt, Nasr Farid Wassel, returned to Cairo Wednesday evening after joining a delegation of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) sent to Afghanistan to meet officials in the Taliban movement to discuss the issue of destroying Buddha statues.
President Mubarak sent the Mufti to Afghanistan at the request of a number of international officials who had asked the President to contact Taliban movement to stop destroying monuments.
Wassel said he had joined a number of Muslim ulema, scholars, intellectuals and representatives of the OIC and met a number of Taliban officials and senior ulema to discuss issues of concern to the Afghan people who are in need of support.
"The mission succeeded because it revealed many issues that had not been on the mind of Muslims, "the Mufti said.
On the issue of monuments, the Mufti said it was not discussed because destruction had taken place before the mission arrived.
As regard the statues of Buddha, they considered them stones that were being worshipped. Buddhists come to Afghanistan and kneel before them on religious occasions of Buddhism.
Taliban officials explained that they had taken a decision to destroy the Buddha statues according to a Fatwa (religious opinion) which says that no stones which were worshipped should exist on the territory of a Muslim country.
The Mufti said that Taliban officials were dismayed because of the world campaign against them for some stones at a time when no one moved against Israel or objected to its repressive measures against the Palestinian people.
Taliban officials saw the campaign against Afghanistan as an attempt by "some parties which do not wish good for the Arabs and Muslims."
The Mufti hoped that the OIC and Arab countries would continue dialogue with Afghanistan to maintain its links with the Islamic nation and break the blockade imposed on Afghanistan.
Meantime, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) delegation led by Qatari Minister of State for Islamic Affairs Abdullah AL-Mahmoud discussed issues related to supporting the Afghan people, said a statement late Wednesday by Dr El-Iftaa (an Islamic institution issuing religious rulings).
The initiative was launched under directives from Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamed Ben Kahlifa Al-Thani and grouped senior ALAzhar officials added the statement.
"The delegation had met the Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, the spokesman for Afghanistan mullah Mohammed Omar and other figures," said the statement.
"Afghan officials assured to the delegation that the antiquities would remain intact and they are considered a historic treasure but statues had been destroyed ahead of the delegation's arrival," the statement said.
It added that the objectives of the visit were to contribute to solving issues facing Afghanistan and conducting a dialogue on religious issues.
The Afghan people suffer from severe shortage in education, economy, media, services and health care which put them in urgent need of aid while widespread reports on hemp growth are totally baseless, it added.
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