Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Religious Groups Battle Over Taj, Takings

Religious Groups Battle Over Taj, Takings
“We stand on a very sound footing,” board chief Hafiz Usman told Reuters, saying Shahjehan, who built the Taj as a tomb for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, bequeathed it to the trust’s predecessor.

Like other state Sunni waqfs, the Uttar Pradesh body was granted ownership of Sunni graves in the state and also claims the Taj Mahal as a grave under its care. And, it insists, the emperor and his wife were Sunnis.

But some leaders of the state Shia Waqf board say the mausoleum was built under supervision of an Iranian Shia architect and that Shahjehan was in fact a Shia. So the Shia Waqf should own it.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad says the gleaming white structure, flanked by two mosques, is not even Muslim.

“The Taj Mahal was originally a Hindu temple and should, therefore, be handed over to Hindus,” says VHP chief Ashok Singhal.

Rows over monuments and sacred sites are common in India, which has seen the ebb and flow of invasions for centuries and has variously been ruled by Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Hindus.

What about the aliens? Why doesn’t anybody talk about the damn aliens?

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