Ancient Temple of Mexican Otomi Indians Damaged
Mark Stevenson - The Associated Press
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June 29, 2016

Ruins of an ancient shrine in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico, allegedly damaged by Jehova's Witnesses. (Associated Press)

Assailants have damaged an ancient Otomi Indian religious site in Mexico, toppling stone structures used as altars, breaking carved stones and scattering offerings of flowers, fruit and paintings at the remote mountain shrine known as Mayonihka or Mexico Chiquito.

The attack was unusual in a country where few ancient pre-Hispanic religious sites remain functioning.

A researcher who interviewed some of the attackers said they identified themselves as Jehovah's Witnesses and viewed the altars as blasphemy. However, the spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico said Tuesday that the allegation appeared to be false.

A local official in the state of Hidalgo said Monday that some local residents were angered by what believed to be idolatry and had damaged the remote site.

"I don't know what religion they belong to, but they destroyed several images that were there," said Daniel Garcia, the municipal secretary of the nearby township of San Bartolo Tutotepec. "The thing is, there are some religions that don’t believe in using idols."

Luis Perez Lugo, a professor at the University of Chapingo, visited the site in May and talked to residents of a nearby hamlet, El Pinal, whose residents said they had carried out the attack.

...Gamaliel Camarillo, the Jehovah’s Witness spokesman in Mexico, said that "to the extent we have been able to investigate, we found this story to be false."

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