Iran confiscated Buddha statues from shops in Tehran to stop the promotion of Buddhism in the country.
The move adds the statues to a growing list of banned creations, like Barbie dolls and characters from The Simpsons, in the Middle Eastern nation.
Iran has long fought against things that could give the country a Western influence, like the promotion of Barbie dolls, reports Yahoo! News.
But the latest confiscation of Buddha statues appears to be the first time the country has showed an opposition to symbols from the East.
Saeed Jaberi Ansari, an official for the protection of Iran’s cultural heritage, called the statues symbols of “cultural invasion.” while some Iranians buy the Buddha statues to decorate their homes and cars, few actually care about the religion.
Reza Sanaei, a shopkeeper who sells the statues, added, “As I understand, none of customers cared about Buddhism, they only bought it for decoration.”
ABC News notes that Ansari did not say how many Buddha statues had been confiscated by Iran. He added, however, that more will be seized from shops. One customer, Marjan Arbabi, stated that she does not personally care for the Buddha statues. She added, however:
“But my parents have set of five Buddhah’s statues at their home simply because they think the statues are beautiful.”
Iran’s constitution recognizes Christian and Jewish beliefs, along with the official religion of the country, Zoroastrianism. The law adds that the rights of all non-Muslims should be observed. Despite this, some Islamists are not in support of any status, because they believe it is a way to promote idols.
It is unclear if there will be any action against Iran for confiscating Buddha statues from shops in Tehran.