Iran has followed up on its ban of wicked Western influences, such as Barbie dolls and the Simpsons, by adding Far Eastern Buddha statues to its list of foreign evils.
The Iranian-based Arman daily quoted Saeed Jaberi Ansari, who helps protect Iran’s “cultural heritage,” as saying the items are part of a “cultural invasion.”
Dr. Alireza Nourizadeh, the director of the Center for Arab & Iranian Studies in London, criticized the ban as nothing more than “circumcised art,” according to the Saudi-based Al Arabiya website.
“Art is not an area the regime will succeed fighting against,” he said. “This has nothing to do with not allowing sculptures or artworks in the country – like some Islamic countries. Iran does have its film and theater festivals, but it’s what you can call ‘circumcised’ arts.”
The Simpsons were banned last year to defend the Islamic Republic against Western culture, but the Iranian regime reasoned that Spiderman and Superman were permissible because they help the “oppressed.”
Stretching the ban to the Far East’s Buddha statues won’t work, according to Dr. Nourizadeh.
“Artistic circles will speak out; Iranian intellectuals will respond sharply,” he explained.
However, Ansari, the defender of culture, reportedly said that the “cleansing” would continue to prevent the promotion of a specific belief.
“The regime believes Iranian citizens, particularly the youth, are being corrupted by the West, foreign entities, imperialists, Zionists, you name it which encourages young people to leave Islamic values and Khomeini’s values,” he said.
Buddha statues are used more as ornaments than they are for religious practices in Iran, which officially guarantees the rights of non-Muslims.