(File pix) Municipal office for the landlocked, central province of Qassim, Dubai took down the sculpture in response to complaints by residents that it resembled a Christian cross. AFP Photo

DUBAI: One of Saudi Arabia's most conservative provinces has demolished a towering concrete sculpture in response to complaints by residents that it resembled a Christian cross.

State-linked local news sites, including NewsQassim.com, say the municipal office for the landlocked, central province of Qassim, took down the sculpture on Friday.

Videos and photos posted on social media and local news sites showed the sculpture in ruins after its demolition by bulldozers.

Saudi commentator Akal Al-Akal criticized the demolition in an op-ed in Tuesday's al-Hayat newspaper, saying the sculpture had been there for 25 years, and its destruction embarrasses state institutions.

Municipal officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Mosques are the only legally permissible places of worship in Saudi Arabia, though Christian residents have conducted worship services discreetly, without interference. -- AP

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