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Bahrain woman charged with insulting Hindu religious symbol

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A woman in Bahrain seen smashing statues of the Hindu deity Lord Ganesha in a video published online has been charged with intentional damage and publically insulting a religious symbol.

The police said on Sunday that the 54-year-old woman was summoned after the video on social media showed her “intentionally damaging a shop… and breaking religious idols” in the Juffair area in the capital Manama, according to the interior ministry.

Shortly after, the 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.

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She will be tried in court, it added.

The video shows two women in a shop, standing near a display of the statues. One of them is seen grabbing statues and smashing them on the ground.

“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.

The incident sparked widespread condemnation on social media.

Khalid al-Khalifa, advisor to the king of Bahrain and former foreign minister, 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 tweeted.

“Here, all religions, sects and people coexist.”

Hundreds of thousands of mostly Asian workers of different religions live in the small Muslim country.

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