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Hobby Lobby smuggling scandal
Main article: Hobby Lobby smuggling scandal
One of the ancient clay tabletsshowing Cuneiform scriptwhich Hobby Lobby smuggled
In 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized thousands of clay tablets and bullas from Hobby Lobby. The artifacts in question had likely been stolen from Iraq. Hobby Lobby was found to have used couriers that had willfully used methods to conceal the provenance of the allegedly stolen items. The museum released a statement that these artifacts were never owned by the Museum of the Bible and were never intended to be part of their collection. In 2018, the items were returned to Iraq, and the company paid a $3 million fine.
Scott Thumma, a dean and professor of sociology of religion at Hartford Seminary, defended Hobby Lobby during the smuggling controversy. Thuma stated: "Many of the collections of our great national museums and universities are full of the very objects that Hobby Lobby is being fined for smuggling and are seldom required to return or pay compensation."
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