An Egyptian Islamist who served with the Taliban has called for the "destruction of the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids in Egypt” in keeping with Salafist beliefs that Muslims should not worship idols.
Egyptian Islamist Murgan Salem al-Gohary advocates destroying one of the Seven Wonders of the World, which serves as a huge tourist attraction within the Egyptian economy. The Giza Pyramids are over 4,500 years old, but al-Gohary sees them only as an idol which the extreme Salafists regard as an affront to the Prophet Mohammed.
Al Arabiya reported al-Gohary said during a TV interview: "All Muslims are charged with applying the teachings of Islam to remove such idols, as we did in Afghanistan when we destroyed the Buddha statues. God ordered Prophet Mohammed to destroy idols. When I was with the Taliban we destroyed the statue of Buddha, something the government failed to do.”
Sheikh Abdel Fattah Moro, vice president of Tunisia’s Ennahda party, responded to al-Gohary's remarks by saying: “The Prophet destroyed the idols because people worshiped them, but the Sphinx and the Pyramids are not worshiped.”
As Islamists who adhere to the Wahhabi principles of Sharia law gain ground, the destruction of ancient artefact's has taken place in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali and the Maldives. Indeed, fundamentalists have even destroyed some of the Holiest sites in the Muslim world at Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, replacing ancient tombs with modern structures.