When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, they began systematically destroying giant stone Buddhas that were centuries old. They did it in the name of Islam.

Today, the Islamists in Egypt have elected their own leader in Egypt. If they get their way, the Great Pyramids will face the same fate as Buddha:

According to several reports in the Arabic media, prominent Muslim clerics have begun to call for the demolition of Egypt’s Great Pyramids–or, in the words of Saudi Sheikh Ali bin Said al-Rabi’i, those “symbols of paganism,” which Egypt’s Salafi party has long planned to cover with wax. Most recently, Bahrain’s “Sheikh of Sunni Sheikhs” and President of National Unity, Abd al-Latif al-Mahmoud, called on Egypt’s new president, Muhammad Morsi, to “destroy the Pyramids and accomplish what the Sahabi Amr bin al-As could not.”

This is a reference to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad’s companion, Amr bin al-As and his Arabian tribesmen, who invaded and conquered Egypt circa 641. Under al-As and subsequent Muslim rule, many Egyptian antiquities were destroyed as relics of infidelity. While most Western academics argue otherwise, according to early Muslim writers, the great Library of Alexandria itself–deemed a repository of pagan knowledge contradicting the Koran–was destroyed under bin al-As’s reign and in compliance with Caliph Omar’s command.

However, while book-burning was an easy activity in the 7th century, destroying the mountain-like pyramids and their guardian Sphinx was not–even if Egypt’s Medieval Mamluk rulers “de-nosed” the latter during target practice (though popular legend still attributes it to a Westerner, Napoleon).

Now, however, as Bahrain’s “Sheikh of Sheikhs” observes, and thanks to modern technology, the pyramids can be destroyed. The only question left is whether the Muslim Brotherhood president of Egypt is “pious” enough–if he is willing to complete the Islamization process that started under the hands of Egypt’s first Islamic conqueror.

I could see this becoming a global affair, possibly resulting in military action, if they Islamists decide to destroy them. Unless they simply launch some fighters and light them up with missiles.

Personally, I think they should be protected, but there’s also the national sovereignty issue. It’s a difficult call for a conservatarian like me.

What do you think? Protect them if they go after the pyramids, or is it their property to destroy if they choose?

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