Male, Feb.13 (ANI): Maldivians have reportedly expressed alarm over the destruction of several historical and priceless Buddhist artifacts on exhibit at the country's National Museum.
A senior museum official, speaking on condition of anonymity, was quoted by the web site onislam.net, as saying that vandals had effectively erased all evidence of the Maldives Buddhist past, and confirmed that the museum has been closed for further investigations.
The official said the 12th century statues were made of coral stone and limestone, and were very brittle. he added that restoring them would not be possible.
The incident appears to be similar to the 2001 destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan by the Taliban.
The country's Islamic group, the Adhaalath Party, condemned the attacks, but said they still remained opposed to ex-president Mohamed Nasheed's decision to accept three monuments from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
New Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed, supported by the Adhaalath party, also condemned the attack calling it "totally unacceptable."
Waheed denied there was religious violence in his country, but was challenged by former foreign minister Ahmed Naseem who said extremists were thriving in the Maldives. (ANI)
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