Mob storms National Museum, destroys Buddhist statues: “A significant part of our heritage is lost now”

Several historical artifacts exhibited at the Maldives National Museum, including Buddhist statues were destroyed in a mob attack on Wednesday morning, an act of vandalism that is said to have caused “unimaginable damage” to the treasured Maldivian heritage.

Speaking to Minivan News, a museum official said that a group of five to six men stormed into the building twice, “deliberately targeted the Buddhist relics and ruins of monasteries exhibited in the pre- Islamic collection, destroying most items “beyond repair”.

The official said that the details of the damage cannot be released as the police have asked the museum to withhold the information until the investigation into the attack is pending.”‘But I can say that attackers have done unimaginable damage,” he added.

“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 exclaimed.

According to a source, a coral stone head of Lord Buddha, an 11th century piece recovered from Thoddoo in Alifu Atoll, was smashed up by the attackers, one of the most significant pieces at the museum inside Sultan’s Park.

The museum was built with Chinese government aid and opened on July 26, 2010.

Other pieces vandalised include the Bohomala sculptures, monkey statues and a broken statue piece of the Hindu water god, Makara, while the two five faced statues discovered from Male’ were also damaged – the only remaining archaeological evidence proving the existence of a Buddhist era in the Maldives.

The glass casings holding the items were also destroyed in the attack.

According to the museum official, some of the attackers who returned to the museum for the second time were apprehended by the police who arrived on the scene.

“Around five to six people were taken under police custody. But by then they had already done the damage they wanted,” he observed.

Minivan News could get the confirmation on the arrest from the police at the time of press.

The attack on the museum coincided with the political unrest that escalated in Male’ on late hours of Tuesday night, after a group of policeman and military allegedly joined the opposition protestors, forcing Former President Mohamed Nasheed to resign the following day.

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

The 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 also denounced as idolatrous monuments and vandalised, including the monument gifted by Pakistan.

Removal of the contentious monuments was one of the five demands of the December 23 protesters, including religious groups and opposition, who also demanded that the government prohibit Israeli airlines from operating in the Maldives.

The museum official who spoke to Minivan News earlier said that he cannot comment on whether the attack was connected to fundamentalists.

‘We are not trying to promote any religion here. These artifacts are used for the purpose of teaching, archeological research and showing Maldivian history to visitors,” he explained. “But a significant part of our heritage is lost now.”


54 thoughts on “Mob storms National Museum, destroys Buddhist statues: “A significant part of our heritage is lost now””

  1. Now that the Islamists are presumbably in power, I do not think any of our heritage will be safe. This is exactly what the Taliban did in Afghanistan. You can read about what they did to The Buddhas of Bamiyan, for example.

    These people do not have the IQ to appreciate their own history! Savages, is the only way to describe them.

  2. If you know your history....then you would know where you are coming from.....

    Fighting for survival.....

    Buffalo soldier.....

  3. History is where we belong. No can take that away. We can believe in any relegion and thats up to the individual. At the end of the day, we must respect the constitution and the law of the country. If we cannot accept it, then we shall leave this country or else live with it.

  4. i bet even maumoon and his cronies did not expect this. what a shame...

  5. What a group of ignorant!!!There is no justification for such barbarism.People who destroy a whole nation's past heritage...that's a terrible crime against humanity!!!

  6. the true face of the new old regime ... even the history they wipe out ... wow, you did it, yes ! destroy your country !

  7. This is people called themselves Dhivehi and destroyed the vestiges of their past. They will accept foreign Arabs and their values believes but not the Dhivehi ones so they reject their own culture. Apalling.

  8. "an act of vandalism that is said to have caused “unimaginable damage” to the treasured Maldivian heritage."

    A heritage that we should have long forgotten! Oh what a joyous occasion, that it finally shall be - forgotten!

    Allah Akbar!

  9. Why the people are building museums and exhibiting valuable artifacts? It is the history or the past. We all should know our culture. These are the only evidences of our past. If we destroy them, we are destroying our identity. It is true that there were Hindus or Buddhists in the Maldives before they embrace Islam. Few centuries back, people destroyed such non Islamic places of worship for their construction purposes. Westerners taught us to preserve these artifacts to show the world about our culture. Now in this civilized community some antisocial elements are trying to pull us back to uncivilized ages. If they are trying to pull back the people to olden times, there is a probability that they may change their religious concepts as well. A true believer would remain as a true believer always. No matter what is happening around.

  10. History is his story- sum total of one's own past. Therefore the destroyer of the same is committing a self-denying act. He is like a one who beats one's parents and family and fire the house in anger. There will come a time for him to repent about the brutal act. But then everything would be beyond repair.

  11. Maybe it is time for The Int'l Judge community to issue an arrest order against Gayoom for the crimes taht took place in The Maldives.

  12. @Dhivehi Hanguraama

    So you come from Persia, where the same islamist repression happens? Persia has also its History and belief system. However, like in the Maldives the Arabs made islam compulsory and there you have it. You yourself are a clear example of its devastation. Get a life and enjoy it!

  13. Destroying these precious treasures of history is big crime and an uncivilized act. These are the physical evidence that can tell your children a great deal about their civilisation and heritage. Extremists in Afghanistan did the same and eventually Afghanistan has suffered a worse fate. This much intolerance can never lead the Maldives to a better future.

  14. It is a pity that such incidents happen. If one were to compare Maldives with other Islamic Countries like Malaysia or Indonesia where all religions are treated as par and there is tolerance to other cultures and beliefs.

    Hope Maldivians learn something from these countries and stop the barbarians in commiting such offences and defend such talibani acts.

  15. Now you have no past and probably no future too.

    Welcome to the ranks of Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Somalia. Welcome to barbarism, fear, ignorance and total misery.

    Brothers and sisters, would I ever see your carefree smiles again?

    Do you want your children to walk tall and live with confidence in a wonderful world?

    Friends be very, very vary of what you chose, and who you support from now on, before you lose it all forever one morning.

    You owe this at least to future generations. Do not lose courage.



  17. y thse who mans act lke dis ha?
    dis is sme thnk happn wthing the contry dat lvng mst pepls are muslims ...
    thnk iraq , egypt ,

  18. Poor, poor Maldivian Islands... They now have to hold on top of their coral sand surface humans full of ignorance, so much dis-educated about who they were and who they really are now. Some continue to act as if they didn't know, in fact they don't, one of the few universal laws that exist behind any possible interference by mankind: action, reaction.
    I am a lover of Maldivian coral sand, crystal clear lagoons and deep blue ocean with its unique underwater life - all of which does not need any politics or government or laws to exist as self-sustained systems - who has lived for many months in total harmony with Maldives Islands back in the seventies, where cement did not exist in Male, and following what has happened to your paradise in the last decades gives me a deep pain.
    If we broke something, we going to have something broken.
    And what about a word called respect?
    If we do not give respect we are not going to get any.
    Ask your eldest who lives in the far northern and southern small islands if they agree with what is going on today in their capital city.
    Your eldest would have never smashed anything or burnt anything in their younger age, because they had respect.
    I really wish you Maldivian people to "be yourself" without getting "brainwashed" by other cultures and/or influences that do not belong to the blue ocean and the coral unique sand of Maldives Islands.
    With Love!

  19. @Dhivehi Hanguraama,

    Do you think you can erase your heritage from you by destroying artifacts?
    Your words show how those Arab invaders created clowns like you by killing and force converting your ancestors.
    Who created your heritage in Maldives? If I am correct, as per you belief it was the God who created everything. Now are you happy, you have destroyed it ?

  20. Maldivian fools. You eat only 'garudiya' and 'rice.Most stupid, proud people in the world. What do you have? What do u know about the world?nothing.afew of Maldivians are real people. others are animals. If other countries are not in the world, u will die of starvation. Fools, Bloody fools!

  21. Been a Maldivian I apologize to the world for what our political clowns like Yamin and Gayoom are doing. For years I have supported Gayoom, but now I see the true colours of Gayoom and Yamin. I appeal to Sri Lanka to ban all Maldivians going to that country and while we destroy Buddhist statues, Sri Lankans warmly welcome and mbrace us Maldivians and we are free to take our Korans to Sri Lanka while we destroy Buddhist Statues. We Maldives is a shameful Nation.

  22. @dhivehi hanguraama; this seems like a disgrace to entire humanity. get a life man.

  23. the present day Maldivians destroy their heritage, the reminisence of their ancient civilization. it is not only history. it is a part of you. it is what your fore fathers did. The heritage you destroyed is a part of what a maldivian is.

    to all those who destroyed them, are you that much ashamed of your maldivian identity? It is pathetic.

  24. you dont see this barbarism in other cultures, only in muslim cultures be it afganistan, pakistan, iran..

    i think what others say about islam is true, that islam is arab nationalism disguised as a religion. It spreads arab culture, conqureing native cultures and destroying them. Maldives is the latest victim.

  25. @dhivehi hanguraama
    You learn to eat roshi made up of coral powder. Soon you will have to eat that,when you are self sufficient( when you have cut the relation with neighbouring countries)So be prepared you fool...

  26. very buddha did not approve to worship statue. so what is wrong smashing these stones.

  27. Dear Seli,
    Yes, they can be smashed into dust as they are stones. However, they are not just stones but the rare works of art of nation’s forefathers. They have an archaeological importance, since they are part of the country’s pre-Islamic heritage. These stones remind the kind of civilization they had built over the centuries and the peaceful lives they had led with inner discipline respecting each other.

    Buddhists do not worship idols but they sometimes pay respect to images of the Buddha, not to ask for favours. A statue of the Buddha reminds us to strive to develop peace and love within ourselves.

    We may think that these works of art have not been handed down to us from our parents but in fact, loaned from our children.

  28. The sunni muslim fanatic and braindead moron Dhivehi Hangyourself..........'islamic scholar' no less.............has already spoken above. It is islamist idiots like these that have destroyed Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan. With retards like him in the Maldives you are truly doomed. Don't worry about global warming............his intolerant sunni ideology will finish you off long before the seas rise............let Pakistan and Afghanistan be a salutory lesson to you.............even shia, sufi and ahmadiya muslims are not safe in these countries never mind us 'infidels'.
    People who destroy their own heritage are THE STUPIDEST PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET. Would the americans destroy their native american heritage?.............would the british destroy their roman heritage?.............would the peruvians destroy their inca heritage?...............and here we have 300,000 of the dumbest people on the planet who are destroying their own history because some uneducated mullah says their past is idolatrous!!
    What is it about deobandi islam that rots the brains of its followers?
    You really are a sad and pathetic lot............. India has so much to teach you.

  29. @Indira NewDelhi yeah the americans wont destroy native american heritage they killed them and slaved them and so did the australians. so you kill them off and then you protect their heritage? You talk of heritage with any value the colonial english masters stole from every country they colonised.

    Most of the so called heritage of african and other nations are in european and american musums.

    And HCP bell who robbed us from anything of value and left us with of no use stone budhdhas.

    what benefit do these budhdhas gave us in the museum thousands of dollars wasted to preserve it. while the same could have been given to invest projects useful for the people.

  30. No offense but it seems Muslims are shouting for 'religious freedom' as long as they are the minority and suppress all the other religions and non-Muslim cultures when they became the majority.

  31. No need for the sea to take the Maldives in 50 years. It's already lost.

  32. no diffrence between pakistan , afghanistan , bangladesh and now Maldives..keep the mad work going maldivians..!!!

  33. as a buddhist i am saddened to see these pieces destroyed. but i am also curious about the circumstances that must have inspired such hatred and violence. i am sorry for the rage these attackers are carrying in their hearts.

    i do love buddhist art myself, but buddhist art is not the buddha. we do not worship buddhist relics. we view them as a reminder of how the buddha, a man, broke free, and an inspiration that we all can do the same. as buddhists we practice love. we do not meet violence with violence.

    i am surprised at the hate-filled comments on this page, in response to this article. i understand the confusion and the outrage. but please...choose you words carefully. words carry power. hatred only inspires more hatred. inspired by the buddha, who was a man and not a god, we meet hatred with love. or at least we try.

  34. The destruction of their pre islamic heritage seems to be the number one item on the agenda of small, insignificant, unimportant and POLITICALLY UNSTABLE islamic nations it seems..............more so in 100% ( yeah right) islamic nations.
    Afghanistan has destroyed its buddhist past including the destruction of the precious 2000 year old buddhas at Bamiyan........well done Afghani idiots...........was it the 'brown sugar' that made you do it?...........Pakistan has destroyed most of its hindu and buddhist temples..........well done sunni retards of Terroristan..........Maldives is now doing the same. As an Indian I am very concerned that a primitive province of saudi arabia now exists on the very doorstep of secular and democratic India.
    Pakistani history text books begin with the coming of muslims to the Indian subcontinent, totally ignoring the hindu and buddhist history of the past.
    Why do you dimwits...........I mean all 300,000 of at all? Just build more and more madrasas and concentrate on koranic studies. That should prepare you eminently for life in the seventh century.
    Clearly your intolerant faith does not teach you anything about other OLDER faiths and beliefs and trying to live in peace and harmony with other human beings on this planet.
    Islamists keep ranting 'Islam is a religion of peace'........really??.............not much evidence to support this.
    As a member of the human race, the destruction of the buddhist relics in Maldives makes me sooooooooo angry because you have destroyed part of my heritage too.

  35. Many in this country accuse Mr. Nasheed for this act of terrorism on museium to descredit islamists and people tend to beleieve that he is the bigest terrorist in this country.

  36. i am a sri lankan.i dont know why islamic people hate other religions and religious people.and why they hate their own heritage.

  37. And Islamist claim that Islam is a religion of peace. In any case Maldives will be under water in few years. Why get bad Karma for destroying it?

  38. It is the sunni sect of islam that has the sick intolerant ideology...........practised by the same morons who live in saudi arabia, yemen, pakistan and POLITICALLY UNSTABLE maldives.............the sickness has spread to Nigeria with the Boko Haraam sect...........meaning, believe it or not, Education is Haraam. Clearly this sect does not preach tolerance of any other belief nor respect for any other religion. In the twentieth century we had jehovah's witnesses and mormons ramming their beliefs down other people's throats, now we have sunni deobandis and their ranting mullahs preaching hatred and intolerance towards everyone who doesn't subscribe to their primitive beliefs.
    It is time the governments of india and sri lanka rounded up the thousands of maldivians who live in our countries and packed them off.........and their intolerant faith..........back to their rancid atolls in the maldives.
    It is mindless acts of vandalism that we have seen in the museums of maldives that fuels hatred for sunni muslims and increases islamophobia in the world. What a bunch of dimwit retards you are..........all 300,000 of you. By your disrespectful actions you don't exactly endear yourself to the people of neighbouring countries do you?
    Global warming sounds such a good idea now. I would encourage all indians and sri lankans reading sixth of humanity burn as much fossil fuels as possible and increase carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.
    That should take care of this regressive and disrespectful 'sunni islamic caliphate' in the indian ocean.

  39. It appears that a crime has been committed wherein irreplaceable historic artefacts have been destroyed. It appears that the perpetrators have been apprehended by the police. Presumably the perpetrators will be judged for their crimes in a court of law and, if found guilty, sentenced accordingly. Hopefully they will have the chance to realize their foolishness.

    It saddens me that anyone would destroy works of art and heritage for any reason. It seems similar to unenlightened acts such as the burning of books. Destroying the artefacts does not change history, it just diminishes everyone.

    I recall seeing some of these artefacts in the old Museum in the late 1980's. The new museum looks a much more fitting home for displaying and preserving them... until now.

    Seeing this as any more than a crime does not seem to add benefit or value. It certainly does not provide excuse or justification.

  40. look at this... It was before

  41. The "religion of peace" continues its assault on reality. Who will exterminate these savages? They cannot be reasoned with, after all, logic and reason are "un-islamic"

  42. Destroy . . . . ...... destroy every thing. Destroy the past and the present and the future too. (you are on the way to it)Destruction !Born with it living with it and die of it!

  43. If any muslim in any country in which Sahri lwas doesn't prevail should have no moral right to ask for any right from that country. If they do so they are the most hypocratic set of people in this world.-+


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