It’s a strange title but my sister-in-law was telling me that the beauty of Angkor Wat stems (in part) from being the World’s Largest Hindu temple complex. However it was then taken over by Buddhists, who nevertheless did not obliterate the Hindu past, but rather overlaid it to create a striking synthesis of Buddhist beliefs & Hindu mythological imagery.
As she was telling me this I could only think of Babri Masjid. Now Babri Masjid was as much a crime as the Taliban blowing up the Buddhist statues of Bamiyan (nations hacking away at their own heritage for belonging to the “wrong” narrative). However it remains to be said that Islam has always had a tendency to replace rather than integrate.
Ever since the Holy Prophet (PBUH) carefully destroyed each of the 360 pagan idols of Kaabah except for Jesus and Mary; it has set a precedent for the takeover of synagogues, temples and churches.
It is now incumbent on Muslims to learn to share their places of worship (especially if built on the Holy Land of others) everywhere from Jerusalem to UP & beyond. The Muslim religion has to make its peace with eclecticism, paganism and polytheism otherwise there will only be more Babri Masjids. If Hindus feel so alienated that they destroy their own land’s architectural jewels it is incumbent on the Muslim minority (and the Ummah) to address. Why is it offensive if Jews want to pray on their Temple Mount; welcome them in and share faith together.
Finally I agree with the Swiss on their minaret ban. If Muslims want a house of worship, buy a declining church and use that. Why reshape the land when there are already so many beautiful historic and underused religious structures about? Note the same applies to Hindu, Bahai and other religious minorities in the West; why can’t there be a time when like in Angkor Wat, all religions can share the same House of Worship? A Sunday service, a Jummah prayer, Sabbath and other religious services all commingle joyously together.