Hobby Lobby Bought 5,500 Ancient Artifacts Looted From Iraq

Feds fine company $3 million, order it to return all items.

July 6, 2017 11:29 am
Hobby Lobby Bought 5,500 Ancient Artifacts Looted in Iraq
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Craft outlet Hobby Lobby is back in the news—but this time, it has nothing to do with its battle against Obamacare.

Instead, it’s all about ISIS.

According to The New York Times, since 2009, the evangelical Christian owners of Hobby Lobby have amassed a collection of more than 5,500 ancient Middle Eastern antiquities—including rare clay cuneiform tablets, which it smuggled into the U.S. The pieces were purchased in 2010 for $1.6 million. They arrived in boxes that marked them simply as clay or ceramic tiles to a trio of Hobby Lobby stores in Oklahoma.

As the Times notes, while Hobby Lobby’s owners were cutting the deal for the tablets, an independent expert hired to work on the deal warned the company that the items may have been looted from sites in Iraq. As RCL has reported in the past, many religious sites have been plundered by terrorist organization ISIS, while it lays waste to parts of Iraq and Syria.

The U.S. Justice Department has forced Hobby Lobby to return all of the pieces and pay an additional $3 million in fines.

Below, watch a story on the artifacts from Oklahoma’s KOCO News, which notes that they were headed for display in the Hobby Lobby–funded Museum of the Bible set to open in Washington, D.C.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.