Bahrain woman charged with breaking Ganesha statue: How much punishment is she likely to face?
Photo by ANI

A burqa-clad woman in Bahrain, was prosecuted for destroying Ganesha idols at a supermarket. The entire incident was captured in a video and shared on social media.

The 54-year-old woman was charged with intentional damage to public goods and destroying religious symbols in the Juffair area in the capital Manama.

The country’s Interior Ministry said, “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."

While there is no official statement around the specific charges the woman has been booked, a macroscopic view of the Bahrain Penal Code suggests that the woman is likely to be tried under these sections.

Article 299

Life imprisonment shall be the penalty for any person who commits an act of sabotage by any manner whatsoever with the intent of causing the collapse of the national economy against a factory, or one of its appurtenances or facilities, raw material stores, products, or consumer goods store and such other movable or immovable properties.

Article 309

A punishment for a period not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding BD 100 shall be inflicted upon any person who commits an offence by any method of expression against one of the recognized religions sects or ridicules the rituals thereof.

Article 310

The punishment provided for in the preceding Article shall be inflicted:

- upon any person who prints or publishes a holy hook for members of a recognized religions sect should he deliberately alters the text thereof in a manner aiming at changing the meanings thereof or ridiculing its teachings and principles.

- upon any person who commits in public an insult against a symbol or a person being glorified or considered sacred to members of a particular sect.

- upon any person who imitates in public a religious ritual or ceremony with the intention of ridiculing it.

The woman raised objection over the display of Ganesh idols in a Muslim country. She said, "This is Mohamed ben Issa's country, do you think he approved of this?" "This is a Muslim country, correct?" the woman was seen yelling at the shop attendant in Arabic. "Let us see who will worship these statues. Call the cops," the other woman who was recording the incident on her phone said.

Bahrain's royal adviser Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa condemned the act and called it a “hate crime”. “Destroying religious symbols is not part of nature of the Bahraini people. It’s a crime that exposes alien and rejected hate,” he added.

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