Bahrain charges woman for smashing religious items

Video of the woman damaging goods in shop went viral on social media, sparking outrage

FILE PHOTO: General view of Bahrain's financial district in Manama, Bahrain, June 20, 2019. REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo
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A woman in Bahrain was charged with intentional damage to public goods after she was seen destroying ‘religious symbols’ in a video published online late on Sunday.

The country’s Interior Ministry said that a 54-year-old woman was called in for questioning and that it had taken legal action against her after the video showed that she was “intentionally damaging a shop... and breaking religious idols” in the Juffair area in the capital Manama.

“Capital Police took legal steps against a woman, 54, for damaging a shop in Juffair and defaming a sect and its rituals, in order to refer her to the Public Prosecution,” said a statement by the ministry.

The woman was seen smashing Hindu religious statues in a shop.

Bahrain’s public prosecution issued a statement saying the woman had admitted to breaking the statues and was charged with multiple counts of criminal damage and of insulting a religious symbol.

She will be tried in court, it added.

The video sparked outrage from users on social media with users condemning her actions.

"This is a Muslim country, correct?" one woman is heard saying to a man in the shop.

"Let us see who will worship these statues. Call the cops," the other says.

An adviser to King Hamad Al Khalifa and former foreign minister, Khalid Al Khalifa, said the woman's actions were unacceptable.

"Breaking of religious symbols is not the nature of the people of Bahrain. It is a crime... of hatred and is rejected," he said on Twitter.

"Here, all religions, sects and people coexist," he said, adding that those who committed this crime do not belong in Bahrain.

Bahrain is home to thousands of mostly Asian workers of different religions.