Footage leaked of museum vandals destroying pre-Islamic artifacts

Private broadcaster Raajje TV has aired leaked security camera footage showing a group of men vandalising pre-Islamic artifacts in the national museum on February 7, 2012.

Around 35 exhibits were destroyed when  half a dozen men stormed into the museum amid the political chaos of February 7, after former President Mohamed Nasheed resigned under controversial circumstances during a police and army mutiny.

The footage shows a group of men entering the museum, knocking over glass cases and smashing Buddhist-era statues.

Local daily Haveeru reported today that it had learned the men were “religious extremists” who belonged to a local group.

In May 2012, police forwarded cases against four suspects involved in the vandalism to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO). Police at the time declined to reveal any information regarding the identity of the four suspects.

Officials at the PGO were unable to confirm today if the cases had been filed at the Criminal Court.

According to museum director Ali Waheed, the vandals destroyed “99 percent” of the evidence of the Maldives’ pre-Islamic history prior to the 12th century, including a 1.5-foot-wide representation of the Buddha’s head – one of the most historically significant pieces at the museum.

An official at the museum told Minivan News following the incident that the group “deliberately targeted the Buddhist relics and ruins of monasteries exhibited in the pre-Islamic collection, destroying most items beyond repair.”

“This is not like a glass we use at home that can be replaced by buying a new one from a shop. These are originals from our ancestors’ time. These cannot be replaced ever again,” the official said.

In September 2012, the United States government donated US$ 20,000 (MVR 308,400) to help restore and repair the damaged artifacts.

The vandalism was reminiscent of the Taliban’s demolition of the great carved Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in early 2001 and raised fears that extremists were gaining ground in the Maldives, the New York Times reported in February.

AFP meanwhile reported former President Nasheed as saying that the vandals included Islamist hardliners who had attacked the museum because they believed some of the statues inside were “idolatrous”.

In the weeks leading up to the transfer of presidential power on February 7, former President Nasheed’s administration was accused by a coalition of religious NGOs and opposition parties of weakening Islam in the Maldives under the influence of “Jews and Christian priests.”

On December 23, 2011, the opposition alliance held a massive rally in the capital Male’ to “defend Islam” from Nasheed’s allegedly liberal policies and securalisation agenda.

In November 2011, monuments gifted by the South Asian countries to the Maldives ahead of the 17th summit of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC), hosted in Addu City, were denounced as idolatrous and vandalised.

Removal of the contentious monuments was one of the five demands of the December 23 coalition, who also demanded that the government prohibit Israeli airlines from operating in the Maldives, shut down brothels doubling as massage parlours, reverse policies to allow sale of alcohol in city hotels and condemn United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay for her suggestion that flogging be abolished as a punishment for extra-marital sex.

After coming to power, the ruling coalition withdrew the demands in the People’s Majlis.


23 thoughts on “Footage leaked of museum vandals destroying pre-Islamic artifacts”

  1. It is a crime to forget one's ancestors!
    To destroy deliberatly their heritage is criminal, ignorant and vulgar. Yet, more than with cultural identity this act of barbarism has to do with the great frustration, ignorance and agression the last 30 years of dictatorship have left behind. These vandals need to be punished. And they need to be educated!!!

  2. Throw them into the fire to see if they'll burn. Then we'll know who's on the right path. Hehehe.

  3. They appear to be drunk just like the bearded extremists who slashed Hilath's throat.

  4. How about gassing All Maldivian to eliminate Buddhist blood? Do these semi evolved apes don’t realize their ancestors were Buddhists. This is not an isolated incident. All Maldivian behave in the same way. What a pathetic people.

  5. This vandalizing State assets that is part of our heritage! It is a crime and should be treated as such. With this piece of evidence criminal proceedings can be concluded within weeks.

  6. Looks like a scene out of the movie 'Four Lions'. Must have given them a rush and feeling of doing something important and noble.
    If you're going to politicise it by placing blame on maumoon then you could also blame anni. this happened after he insisted on having those saarc monuments.

  7. this obsession with art and history is just egoism. what is the benefit from looking at these stones and thinking about a bygone past, the history of which is non-existent?

  8. I was just outside the museum on that day and police caught the culprits red handed from the scene. I can't understand why prosecutor general is taking one year to send the case to court.

  9. For all the commenters;
    Same things Aboojahl and other deviated non-muslim told to prophet mohamed (pbuh) regarding the islam . They told to prophet mohamed(pbuh) this is our forefathers our ancestors religion so stop your calling , if you stop we will give money position vice verse...Prophet mohamed(pbuh) cleared all the statues in the ka'ba in makkah after victory. In this clear example we know that what we have to do for this extreme statues . We dont want the view of extreme westerners because for us for muslim for Allah they real extremists. If you hold the statues then you are not muslim. you are non muslim.

  10. Hey Mr President have you read this article. It's not migrant workers diluting Maldivian culture, it's Islam that has done this and before anyone jumps up and down rants and raves about my post the facts speak for themselves because not one of you have stood up and proclaimed that your religious scholars don't follow the true meaning of Islam for fear of being their next victim. Tolerant of all faiths, except in the Maldives.

  11. Hey real, why don't you go loot all the shops that have mannequins?

    ... wait, that's what you cash-strapped gangsters do.

  12. Real
    Ever wondered that your violent version of Islam be accepted by God. You sound like a retard and lack the ability to understand simple situations, on top of that your violent character make you a perfect candidate a terrorist suspect.

  13. Another leaked video and Maldives Police and judiciary fail to take action. Whether its statue or street sign, destruction of public property is a crime and the perpetrators should be brought to justice. Rent a Islamic Sheiks brandish their power by sending retarded or low IQ beardies to do their dirty works, promising them heaven. It is said that Dhajaal also shows the heaven to his followers.

  14. ISLAM as it looks, is being taken for a ride by a cult of people who believe in something of their own!

    To my belief, Allah forbade worshiping idols!
    And the Prophet had destroyed idols that people had erected in public, for worship!

    I have not heard anything about the Prophet destroying any idol that were not being worshiped, or that were inside people's homes!

    To my belief, if Allah Almighty had ever willed, every idol, be it any, kept in public, or at home, or even embedded deep in earth, would have been destroyed with a single command!

    This to me is intolerance, and is unthinkable.
    These are things kept in museum as history!

    But in this nation, the so called Sheikhs, Imran, Shaheem and Ilyas are doing as they will!
    And if keeping idols is not Islamic, why not these so called Sheikhs call for abolishing of idols, artifacts and even books or what ever that have idols drawn?

    If this goes unnoticed or not punished, the museum seems open for vandalism and if anyone does, they too should not be punished!

  15. i doubt that this was done adaaltah Party but rather looks like that this should have been promoted by someone else to blame Adhaalath.

  16. why does that goat Wheed say to this..

    Expats are not the bane of your country.. its buffoons like this.

    You do not have a culture, heritage or history to write a single page of and then you decide to do this.

    Typical Maldivianess...

  17. There one on vedio seen with a beard who had problems with Afrachime,The MP who gont killed after a T.V programer but he is not bee seen in Maldives.I saw him yelling at Afrashim after Friday Pryer in side Ibrahimy Mosk and aslo out side Ibrahie mosk

  18. @mody mouth piece for adalath keep on the apologetic for extremists in maldives

  19. nothing new..this is what I expect from muslim nations..destroying there ancient history because it was non islam ..and all muslims wheather they condoned it or not are guilty of it..for not coming forward to stop it..wheather in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, arabia..etc..

  20. When you have the perfect truth of Islam, why should you trouble yourself with history and archaeology?

  21. why do farmers weed their orchards of unwanted plants? why do cattle farmers hunt preying pests? To protect their farm no? it would be nice if good can live sideby side with evil, but its not to be.


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