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Sunday, 15 April 2007

Western Negri Sembilan state's museum has held a ghost and genie exhibition since 10 March. Agence France Presse reported on 20 March that there had been calls by the authorities, notably Malaysia's Culture and Arts Minister, Rais Yatim, to shut it down.

Now, reports Al Jazeera, it has been shut down "after Islamic religious authorities issued a fatwa, or decree, against it".

Al Jazeera quotes "state media", but does not specify the name of the organisation.

Back in March, a museum curator explained why they didn't want to lose the show:

But museum curator Shamsuddin Ahmad said closing the exhibit would defeat its purpose.

"When we planned this exhibition, one of the main objectives was to educate the public, which is why, besides exhibiting the artifacts, we also plan a series of dialogues and talks about the supernatural," Shamsuddin was quoted as saying.

"If we stop now, we will not fulfil the objective of the exhibition," he said.

Now, the imams have butted in and it's been shut down:

Abdul Shukor Husin, the [National Fatwa Council]'s chair, was quoted as saying that "supernatural beings are beyond the comprehension of the human mind."

"We don't want to expose Muslims to supernatural and superstitious beliefs," the Berita Harian newspaper quoted him as saying.

The exhibition was due to run until 31 May.

Sawf News, a Web site with "offices in Austin, TX, USA and New Delhi, India", also ran the AFP story, as did the Edmonton Journal.

There is no coverage of the stoppage in The Star, which regardless bills itself as "Malaysia's most widely-read English-language daily".

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