US to assist in restoration of damaged pre-Islamic artifacts

United States funding for cultural preservation will be used to restore pre-Islamic artifacts in the National Museum, which were destroyed by a mob that broke into the building amid February 7’s political turmoil.

US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Patricia Butenis, made the announcement yesterday evening during a event held in Traders Hotel to celebrate the 236th anniversary of US Independence.

“We had intended to help preserve the priceless fragile pre-Islamic artifacts in the National Museum, the very ones destroyed in February when some thugs broke into the museum,” said Ambassador Butenis. “We have received funding for this project, which will now be used to restore the damaged artifacts to the fullest extent possible, and maintain the museum’s early collection of textiles.”

According to a museum source, the destroyed artifacts included one the museum’s most significant pieces – a coral stone head of Lord Buddha, an 11th century piece recovered from Thoddoo in Alifu Atoll.

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

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Butenis urged the Maldives to continue to develop its democracy, and emphasised that the US had itself experienced a difficult struggle to implement the concept.

“In the first decade of of our nation’s existence, questions of how to form our government persisted as we tried to address the concerns of 13 different states. Despite strong disagreements, each nonetheless sent representatives to the convention and formed a government acceptable to all,” she said.

The convention produced what is rightfully hailed as a landmark document, and one that established a strong foundation for the rule of law. Its counterpart, the bill of rights, enshrined many of our basic rights such as freedom of speech, assembly and religion,” she added.

“But the original Constitution was not without flaws. It failed to protect people of all genders and races. The struggle to improve our laws, and for a just democracy and society, continues even today.”

Butenis said the US “knows how tough and rough the road to democracy can be, and the path to improve it. It requires the involvement of all sectors of society, political leaders and an active free press. It requires political leaders to put the interests of the country ahead of their own personal interests. This is as true for your country as it is for mine,” she said.

The US supported the work of the Commission of National Inquiry (CNI), she said, initiated in agreement with the Commonwealth, and the political party talks facilitated by the UN.

“These two mechanisms, with the necessary participation of all political parties, can provide a way forward to resolve the issue of an election date and the political turmoil that continues to preoccupy many citizens of the Maldives,” she said.

She also expressed “alarm, frankly”, at the “reports of violence during protests, violence towards journalists, and accusations of police violence and brutality. In our training with Maldivian police, we stress the importance of maintaining human rights,” she said.

Vice President Mohamed Waheed Deen spoke at the event on behalf of the Maldivian government, thanking the US for its continued assistance, particularly in terms of military training, tsunami recovery and reconstruction efforts.

“The US is a country for people to dream, and win their dream – the American Dream,” Deen said.

“Many people in the world, from all different countries, have achieved that dream, because the US has maintained its democracy and equality for all nationalities, religions and races.”


16 thoughts on “US to assist in restoration of damaged pre-Islamic artifacts”

  1. 23 December Ittihard's sheik dajjals, are you there.

  2. I wonder what china abdullah and fahari bin imran be thinking now. lol

  3. This is funny. 23 December ithihaadh is now in the power and they had accepted to take funds from US to restore the idols. But they were the people who even changed the government and broke the idols in the museum. So don't you all smell something fishy?

  4. This is good news.
    We need this desperately while our economy is going down like never. Thanks a lot.

    China did help to restore the public offices which were vandalized during February 8's unsuccessful coup attempt lead by former President Mohamed Nasheed. How useless can our Chinese friends be when our dear States are restoring precious monuments.

  5. The US state dept are traitors who knew about the coup beforehand and gave a nod and wink to India that they were OK with the Nasheed overthrow. A CIA man was pictured on the ground, in the mob on 7 feb. don't come here with your crap about democracy butinis. Go explain yourself to congress.

  6. Hithim
    Typical mdp.
    Anyone who is not with MDP is a baghee. Your list keeps growing:
    Dr waheeh, Pres. Maumoon, police, army, Islam, scholars, tourism, resort owners, indians, indian high comission, now america and even obama!

  7. they will never give money to rebuild our mosques.

  8. why dont they spend that money on the orphans whose parents they have killed, on widows whose husbands they tourtured and killed. on cities they have wiped out, etc...

  9. @Moosa Rasheed

    Why should they when the government can trick the masses into donating millions easily?

  10. @Moosa rasheed on Mon, 9th Jul 2012 7:28 PM

    "they will never give money to rebuild our mosques."

    And why should they? Just be grateful that they gave any money at all! There are plenty of mosques in the country and I don't think mosques are our priority. Get rid of the drugs fuelling murder, rape, and other violent crimes.

  11. @ Ahmed,
    The priority of a muslim is always mosques, quruan, sunnah, sharia and things like that.

  12. @moosa.

    is in't this morethan enough to have 35 Masjids in the 3 Kilometer Area ??. This is enough to pray 5 Times obligatory prayers for the muslims in the Maldives.!!

    as @Ahmed said, try to get rid of the drugs fuelling murder, rape, and other violent crimes.And make this country a 100% Islamic country.!

    Try to give a Islamic classes for the Youths in different topics, let's say FIKH, AKHLAQ, AQEEDA, etc. How many youths in Maldives know how to perform Prayer, Ablution, Khusul ( Bath (obligatory)), etc. Without having these things and then try to build Masjids, make Shariah law. Thanks 🙂

  13. I don't like the term Pre-Islamic and I never use it. The term is a silly attempt to silence the fact that the culture of the Maldives was Buddhist before the 12th century.

  14. We once followed the oogah boogah religion of Hindus. Now we do not and are on the correct path: that of tahweed.

    That is the only history lesson that matters.

    We do not need these monuments to remind us of our shameful, oogah boogah past.

  15. Dhivehi Hanguraama. Hindus could also say that directing one's prayers towards a black stone in the desert while claiming to profess monotheism is a real oogah boogah religion. While the contradictions in your religion are not resolved, you are living in a glass house and shouldn't throw stone at others.


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