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When Subrmaniam Swamy visited Pakistan (maybe 1996-98) I was so impressed with him that I told my maternal uncle, "If all or most Indian ministers are like this guy, Pakistan doesn't have much of a future." The man was simply what every Pakistani minister is not: urbane, polished and a complete master of foreign policy and international relations. So when I read his article in yesterday's "The Hindu" about mosques not being important in Islam, I felt I had to point out that he was not well-informed. He based his opinion on one or two instances in which the Saudis pulled down a couple of mosques for some reason or the other. This argument was used by the Hindu fundamentalists to pull down the Babri Mosque. The Saudis, with their version of Islam, are not worried about history, they've even razed to the ground the Prophet's house in Makkah, but that doesn't mean a mosque (or for that matter, a Hindu temple) is not sacred for Muslims. The Koran has told Muslims not to vilify the gods worshipped by pagan Arabs, and not to damage any place of worship. Unfortunately, the Taleban went ahead and destroyed the Bamian statues in Afghanistan, as a result of which the whole world thinks Muslims are barbarians.

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