The Nabu Museum opened its door in Batroun last fall with a collection of both modern art and antiquities. (Photo courtesy of the Nabu Museum)
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A newly opened private museum on Lebanon's northern coast and its collection of artifacts from around the region have become the center of a debate around the protection of cultural heritage.Adra had by his own account amassed a collection of more than 2,000 objects from the Levant and Mesopotamia since the 1990s, buying them on the European and American markets. He told The Daily Star that the collection's presence in the museum is playing a valuable role in preserving regional heritage, making it accessible to scholars and the public, and promoting cultural exchange within the region and beyond.Archaeologist Nelly Abboud posted on Facebook last month objecting to Nabu's inclusion in the annual "La Nuit des Musees" museum open house, an official event organized by the Culture Ministry, on April 6 . She raised questions particularly about the museum's collection of tablets from the ancient site of "Irisagrig" in Iraq.Ali al-Taai, an attorney for Iraq's Tourism and Antiquities Ministry, said the Iraqi government wants the Iraqi artifacts in the Nabu Museum returned and had communicated with Lebanon's Culture Ministry about the issue.Owen said the Hobby Lobby case differed from the Nabu Museum because Adra had acquired his collection legally.
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