Museum vandalism “tremendous loss to our country, our culture and our history: former President

Former President Mohamed Nasheed has expressed “deep concern” over leaked CCTV footage of a group of men vandalising archaeological evidence of the Maldives’ pre-Islamic civilisation in the national museum in Male’.

The incident took place amid the political turmoil of February 7 at around 11:30am in the morning, as police and military officers turned on the Nasheed administration in nearby Republic Square.

The extensive CCTV footage shows a group of eight men entering the building while a ninth appears to stand watch outside. A museum staff member sitting at the desk in the lobby stands up as the men enter, and is grabbed and shoved out of view. The group search the ground floor before running upstairs, knocking over display cases and smashing the museum’s collection of ancient Buddhist relics.

Around 35 exhibits were damaged or destroyed, including the museum’s most significant treasure – a carved ancient head of Gautama Buddha discovered in Alif Alif Atoll Thoddu, dating back to the 6th century.

Police in May 2012 forwarded cases against four suspects to the Prosecutor General’s office. According to the PG’s office, the case was initially returned to police for further clarification. The case has now been returned by police and the PG intends to make a decision by the end of next week, Minivan News understands.

“This misguided act of vandalism caused tremendous loss to our country, our culture and our history. A narrative based on hatred and extremism was deliberately whipped up by those currently in power in order to justify the coup in February last year. That same narrative, and the climate of intolerance and impunity it created, also led to the vandalism at the museum,” former President Nasheed stated.

“Extremist behaviour, and a hatred of other cultures and countries, is very real in the Maldives today. The continual denial of this sorry state of affairs by the current regime is deeply troubling,” he added.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Mariya Ahmed Didi alleged the government’s inaction on the matter amounted to “state-backed protection” of the perpetrators.

“I am very concerned by the failure of the authorities to take any action against the museum vandals. The Maldives Police Service and the prosecutor general have abdicated their responsibility to act,” she said.

The vandalism was widely reported by international media outlets, many of which were present in the country to cover the political turmoil at the time.

In September 2012, the United States government donated US$ 20,000 (MVR 308,400) to help restore and repair the damaged artefacts, as part of an effort to preserve Maldivian cultural heritage.

Leaked museum CCTV footage:


24 thoughts on “Museum vandalism “tremendous loss to our country, our culture and our history: former President”

  1. Religious violence is protected in the Maldives because the people who are supposed to uphold the law are extremists themselves.

  2. Foamer Presieqdent Mohamaed Nasheead is godd man. but he sometim and maney time tell verrY big lies. HE createa Ahdaalath ministree and he give very big pover and money to adhaalath religios peeoplws. then adhaaaalathu peeo[plq fundamentels reliagions spreqd. noqw preaisend Annie saying critizse.

  3. It still surprises just how the average Maldivian excluding the minorities like women, non-muslims and gay people, can't see the rise of extremism in this country. It was very apparent during Dr. Afrashim's death where the idea of extremism was shot down by the people who I saw were discussing the issue.

    This is because much of the slide towards extremism happened under the banner of 'this is the right thing', 'this is what the Quran states' and the deeply rooted fear of other religions and cultures in the Maldives.

    What will it take for the average Maldivian to realize that we are the sliding ever so downwards towards a state similar to the Taliban controlled Afghanistan?

  4. same old story repeating again and again. The idea is to portray muslims as violent criminals. But who cares? The more you hate islam the more powerful islam becomes.

    The Bamyan Budhas would still have been standing if they had tried to help the suffering afghans except asked permission to polish the useless stones.

    down with Maldives secularists

  5. Raven, the average drug addicted, fornicating, music listening muslim Maldivian will realize this when ultimately all their freedom is taken away. No more intermingling between the sexes, no more music, no more internet, no more television, and then they will all realize what has gone wrong. But by then it would already be too late. Women would stay at home, and the Maldivian taliban will rule the country.

    It's funny how extremists are always the first ones to deny that extremism exists at all in the country. And since they have gained so much power recently, it will be very difficult to punish criminals like the ones we see in the video.

  6. Same story repeated again and again to my belief will make people to think and aware of things.
    This is worth repeating again and again.
    Here is vandalism at it's worst!
    These were kept in a museum of history, not a place of worship!

    @human being on Wed, 16th Jan 2013 6:26 AM
    This is not about Islam!
    This is all about a cult of people whose leaders believe in something their teachers have come up with and infested them with!

  7. @ human being

    Nobody has to portray anything, since you do it yourself. The video footage speaks for itself.

    And by suffering afghanis do you mean the suffering caused by the Taliban?

  8. @voodoo.
    the afgans were living peacefully in their villages till the russians came,and then later the americans came to fight for land. they destroyed their peaceful life and when they protested, the west labeled them as terrorists. that's their story in a nutshell.
    read some history for god's sake

  9. to human being
    hehe :the afgans were living peacefully in their villages:
    yes and poor afgans peoples peacefully cultivated heroin and opium for all world /
    it is so wild era there that until present day people afraid of immunisation and medical services/they think it is from shaitan/they against education etc/
    what a f//ck

  10. Just because the Russians attacked them doesn't mean they have to destroy the statues. Just because Maumoon shaved your beards and tortured you doesn't mean you have to destroy the museum.

    Reasons are not excuses. Revenge is not an Islamic quality. Or else Taif would be under a mountain today right?

    Injustice wasn't the reason they destroyed the statues. Ask these men and they will quote fatwas from their extremist mullahs which have nothing to do with Russians or Maumoon. So dont try to justify vandalism by hiding behind Russians. That is petulance and immaturity on your part. Accept that these men were wrong and that their actions are INEXCUSABLE.

    If you think Maumoon's torture excuses this sort of vandalism then you're sorely mistaken. A crime is not answered with a crime. That is the rule of the jungle. No sane judge will accept that and hopefully this time these men will be tried and punished for their actions.

  11. I wish those vandals had bashed in their own heads instead, then somehow we might have been spared this spectacle of seeing those stupid morons destroying part of our heritage and history.

  12. @Shamash
    you obviously didn't read what i wrote.
    They (taliban)destroyed the budhas because they were insulted. See, their people were suffering from hunger and disease, there was fierce fighting in their area.all they needed was humanitarian assistance. Instead some ngo asked their permission to do renovation work on the statutes. That's when they had had it enough. The local taliban commander then ordered his men to blast the bamyan budhas, which stood their for so many centuries. Of course they (taliban) had better use of explosives than to destroy stones. But they were also humans; and the west didn't realize that. For them the renovation of stones was more important than feeding a starving population. Got it?

  13. So you destroy the statues and make enemies of everyone? This shows how foolish and immature you really are. Let me put it in simple terms: when you want someone to do something for you, you don't go about destroying things and causing havoc. That'll get you in further trouble. And that's what happened to the Taliban. Still at war. Still starving.

    Your methods don't work. Get it? They create further hatred and animosity towards you. You feel insulted? Well now the insults will get worse. Learn to respect other cultures before asking others to respect you.

    So stop crying about Taliban and defending the actions of barbarians and be sorry that your heritage has been destroyed forever. That might get you some sympathy.

    And just because the Taliban did it that makes it ok for these Maldivian idiots to smash the relics too right? I'll bet you have some sob story to justify how they were traumatised by these idols or some other such excuse.

    We all go through hardship and difficulty. It doesn't mean we should start behaving like animals. Start being a bit more mature and civilised. This is the 21st century.

  14. On 6 March 2001 The Times quoted Mullah Mohammed Omar as stating, "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them."[41] During a 13 March interview for Japan's Mainichi Shimbun, Afghan Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel stated that the destruction was anything but a retaliation against the international community for economic sanctions: "We are destroying the statues in accordance with Islamic law and it is purely a religious issue".

  15. @Shamash
    Which part of my explanation was difficult for you? Imagine you are the taliban commander who gave that famous order to destroy the budhas. imagine your wife and children were sick and hungry and there was no way of escape because of fighting. imagine the terror in their face? At that moment the cursed NGO's came asking you for permission to polish the stones they love so much. That's when you snap! At that moment you have gone over the edge and you don't care for consequences. that's what happened. They simply ran out of patience and had to waste some kgs of explosives they were saving for their enemies on stones.
    I'm not sure u are a muslim, but its mentioned in Quruan that they will never love you till you leave islam and embrace their ways. So you gotta love idols, you gotta drink, hang around with women like they do, you gotta bleach your brown skin, get rid of your foolish Maldivian-indian hybrid english before they hopefully love you.

    Yes, a good muslim will feel no calm about demolishing idols. Its what prophet Ibrahim did and all prophets were commanded to do. Just don't be an ape and try to be original. Our holy prophet asked muslims to be distinguished among men.

  16. I don't have to imagine anything because its clear what the Taliban wanted from their own statements and by the fact they destroyed them with tankks and dynamite, the expenses for which could have fed many children. They were offered money for the statues which they didn't accept. They knew it was a tourist attraction which can bring in needed cash but they didn't care. So they did it for relgious reasons and not because of any economic sanctions.

    Ask the Maldivian barbarians who smashed the statues and they will also say that they did it for religious reasons. Everyone knows this. Your silly excuses don't work.

    Its obvious what you believe now. I don't think you're a Muslim either because no Muslim would justify destruction of idols which arent used for worship. You're an extremist who hates your own history and identity (you brown Bhuddist ancestors) and think following the Arab colonialist ideas will get you to Heaven. You're full of hate and vitriol for the West that you see the world in black and white. I won't be surprised if you were one of those idiots who smashed the idols.

  17. bloody mouth piece of Wahhabi fascists(hb),your logic is full of pot holes,by your way of reasoning, others should retaliate at wahabi muslim places of worship for countless be-headings,suicides bombings,damage to individuals and public places in newyork,rusia,england bali,etc countless children orphaned,peoples having their livelihoods and lives destroyed by wahabi extremism ,because they are facing terror of wahabis and have no hope from cruel wahabi terror.If you love your religious places and symbols to be protected ,you should give similar consideration to other religous places and symbols(treat other as you yourself likes to be treated)- hb is a wahabi supremacist.Moreover you haven't explained why a puritanical wahabi movment like taliban which claims wahabi islam is the solution to muslims poverty and helplessness should beg for aid from infidels

  18. @ cabs and Shamas
    a few points:
    1) we muslims do not consider our lineage in blood. for us its in faith. That is if you are a muslim you are my brother, but if my own brother by blood is a kaafir, then he is not my brother. Very simple!

    2)after the conquest of Makkah, our holy prophet destroyed the 360 idols in masjid al haram. That is the precedent that we shall destroy idols in places that is in our power.

    3)besides thinking logically, what is there to gain by caring about these useless stones? Maybe it will inflate our ego about some percieved artistic refinements we have... but what good is ego for? WE muslims are pragmatists. We believe in constructive action.

    4) the idols in Baamiyaan does not belongs to west! It belongs to the Afghans. Their forefathers created it. if the Afghans decide to destroy their idols then why should that bother us? by the same thinking, read a few lines about how the western countries looted the historical artefacts from other countries and shamelessly display those items in their museums and make money out of that. If the Baamiyaan idols were smaller, they would have tried to take it to US before it was destroyed.

    4) thanks for calling me names. You are being a mirror to me. I like to know what ppl think of my views and appreciate your review. however my advice for you two would be to be to learn more about islam. do not google it, do yahoo also from time to time. Do baidu also from time to time. just broaden the horizons and do not villify muslims like ignorant western zombies. you have brains, use it. not everything that muslims are accused of is true. most are lies.
    salaam to those who are on guidance

  19. hb is a wahabi supremacist nothing to discuss or learn from racist fascist like you.MY philosophy treat others just as you like to be treated

  20. Maldivians themselves are not realizing where they are taking themselves by such acts. Your religious inclinations are ok and you absolutely should keep your faith in whatever you wish to, but whichever religion teaches you to destroy some other religion or people or views or books, is actually a terrorist religion. No real religion can advocate terrorist acts.

  21. when you have nothing else to counter with, you call ppl names. that's a pathetic way to argue.

    @ doc
    you cannot build without destroying things. That's a fact. you have to break ground to pour concrete on foundation. So Islam came to break the ills that's plaguing the world to replace the illness with justice and fairness. All metaphorical ofcourse!

  22. what names hb you cant defend the chargers of racism muslims wahabists are treated superior to other of different religions argue against that and you can talk

  23. After all god cannot be a racist to uphold the superiority of a particular religion and there is scientific evidences to validate the historicity of the quran


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