(ANTIMEDIA) Hobby Lobby is a self-proclaimed “deeply Christian” chain of craft stores run by the wealthy Green family that made headlines in 2014 when a landmark Supreme Court ruling in their favor extended religious freedom rights to corporations.
A strange situation with the infamous craft chain store hit the headlines Wednesday as it was revealed the Green family is being investigated for importing hundreds of ancient artifacts from Israel that rightfully belong to Iraq.
According to the Daily Beast, “For the last four years, law enforcement sources tell The Daily Beast, the Greens have been under federal investigation for the illicit importation of cultural heritage from Iraq.”
In 2011, 200-300 thousand-year-old cuneiform clay tablets on their way to an Oklahoma City Hobby Lobby compound from Israel were seized by U.S. customs in Memphis. The tablets were destined to join the wealthy family’s private collection of 40,000 priceless, ancient artifacts already amassed in their $800 million Museum of the Bible — a “giant” museum set to open in Washington D.C. in 2017.
It’s unclear how the artifacts were suspected to have been looted, but they likely came from ISIS pillagers or Iraqi smugglers taking advantage of the current instability in the region.
Although inarguably disrespectful, the Greens’ attempt to smuggle artifacts might not be as offensive as the objects’ questionable future: it’s not clear to whom they should be returned — or if they will be returned at all.
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