Sayyid Rahmatullah Hashemi, the former Taliban spokesman and now Yale student, spoke at the University of Southern California on March 10, 2001. An on-line publication called The Milli Gazette, which bills itself as "Indian Muslims' Leading English Newspaper," published the question-and-answer portion of that talk. Here's an illuminating excerpt, arising from a discussion about the ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan that the Taliban destroyed. "Before" and "after" photos of the statues are at left.
Q. Does it mean the statues of Hindus and Sikhs will also be destroyed?
Since the destruction of the statues was done in retaliation, was it really
saving the children?
A.: We are not against Buddhists. Absolutely wrong. We are not against any religion. There are Hindus living in Afghanistan; there are different religions. There is one man who is a Jew living in Afghanistan. So we are not against any religion. And there is no Buddhist in Afghanistan, this I can say. In our religion, if anything, you can leave anything until it is not harmful to you. These Buddhas were not harmful to us so far. But now when the money is going to Buddhas’ reconstruction, and the children are dying next door, we think it is harmful now. Not we think, this is what the people think. And I told you that this decision is taken by the council of scholars and the council of people and has been approved by the Supreme Court. Yet the media is saying everywhere that it is an edict by our leadership. Have you ever seen our leadership on TV? Have you ever seen or heard him [Mullah Umar] on international radio? He has never been on radio.
I hope that clears the matter up for you.
Read the other comments from those carefree pre-9-11 days, when today's equivalent of Joseph Goebbels could come and lecture on a U.S. college campus without much serious criticism. Of course, now the same Goebbels wannabe, who was really nothing more than an a spokesman for a movement of pre-modern fascists, is a student at one of the most prestigious U.S. campuses. Oddly, many of the folks there at Yale seemingly can't understand what on earth has so many people so upset about that.