A Malaysian state has closed down an exhibition on ghosts, ghouls and supernatural beings after Islamic clerics declared it detrimental to Muslims' faith.
The exhibition at the state museum capitalises on widespread fascination in Malaysia with other-worldly creatures from local mythology. Artefacts on display reportedly included alleged carcasses of vampires and a phoenix.
Abdul Shukor Husin, chairman of the fatwa council which advises the government on Islamic regulations, was quoted as saying: "We don't want to promote a belief in tahyul [supernatural] and khurafat [superstition] which we do not know about. We do not need to focus on such things or play them up by having such exhibitions." Some 60 per cent of the 26 million population are Muslims.
Last year, a three-month exhibition on "Mysteries, Genies, Ghosts and Coffins" drew tens of thousands of visitors to view, among other objects, a preserved mermaid, the shrivelled skeletal remains of a half-woman, half-snake, and a goblin in a bottle. Critics were divided between those who accused it of being un-Islamic and others who suggested the items could be fakes.