The Christian craft store chain, Hobby Lobby, is returning 5,500 priceless and illegally obtained Iraqi antiquities that it shipped to the company’s headquarters in Oklahoma City labeled as “samples,” reports Tara Isabella Burton in Vox.
On Wednesday night, the Department of Justice announced that the United States was filing a civil action to force the Christian corporation to forfeit thousands of Mesopotamian artifacts that it likely planned to use in its new Museum of the Bible—artifacts that it obtained on the black market.
“As a result of the suit, Hobby Lobby agreed to forfeit all of the artifacts in question — obtained in 2010 and 2011 — and pay a $3 million fine,” says Burton.
Hobby Lobby, you may recall, is the family-owned crafts chain store that fought to deny its employees contraception coverage before the Supreme Court. Turns out investigators have been confiscating shipments of “sample tiles” since 2011, samples that were, instead, priceless cuneiform tablets” and other artifacts stolen from Iraqi museums and other ancient sites.
While these particular artifacts were not stolen by ISIS fighters, as some have reported, Hobby Lobby’s participation perpetuates black market sales from which terrorist organizations like ISIS profit, notes The New York Times.