Maldives police said Thursday they would remove ‘idols’ from a resort if it does not meet a deadline given by the Civil Court to take down the objects.
Almost 30 sculptures are part of a semi-submerged gallery at the Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi that has made headlines around the world.
But the artwork has been criticised by religious scholars and politicians who deem human-form sculptures to be anti-Islamic and, in July, the President’s Office ordered the artwork to be removed. The artwork is still at the resort, almost two months later.
“We want to inform the Maldivian citizens that if the resort doesn’t obey the order within the given time, police and soldiers will work together to do it,” police spokesman Ahmed Shifan declared at a press conference.
The Civil Court gave the resort a deadline of five hours from 1:30 pm Thursday. If the resort refuses to comply, the police and military were ordered to remove the sculptures within seven days and to destroy them as instructed.
The Tourism Ministry says the ‘Coralarium’ was built in contravention of the permission given to the resort.
The court ruled that the Coralarium posed a threat to “Islamic unity and the peace and interests of the Maldivian state” and that its removal was necessary to “protect the five tenets of Islamic shariah.”
“When we look at the principles of protecting the five tenants of Islam, the court believes this needs to be done in order to protect Islam,” Shifan said.