Artwork by a Muslim, considered “blasphemous” by Muslim lunatics because it shows several pairs of women’s high-heeled shoes on Islamic prayer mats, has been removed from a Paris exhibition after warnings of possible violence by Muslim terrorists.
Telegraph The French-Algerian artist, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, withdrew the work from an exhibition in a northern Paris suburb with a large Muslim population after an Islamic group told local authorities it could provoke “uncontrollable, irresponsible incidents”. It is considered disrespectful to step on Muslim prayer maps with shoes.
Ms Bouabdellah has replaced the artwork, “Silence”, previously exhibited in Paris, New York, Berlin and Madrid, with a video installation showing belly-dancing to the French national anthem, with swirling red, white and blue shawls symbolising the national flag.
The decision sparked protests from other artists who complained that freedom of expression was being undermined only weeks after 12 people were killed when gunmen attacked the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
Ms Bouabdellah, 37, said that the “lack of understanding” of her work was probably related to “heightened emotions” after the attacks.
“I’m left wondering at the reasons that push a certain fringe among French Muslims to see this work as blasphemous,” she said. “I’m from a Muslim background and my intention was not to shock or provoke, but to offer a vision as a starting point for a dialogue.”
The French artist Orlan, who also has a work on display in the all-female exhibition in Clichy La Garenne, expressed outrage. “I protest against all pressures and/or threats that would result in a peaceful art work being pulled from an exhibition, be it due to a Christian group, a Muslim group, or a group of other beliefs,” she wrote in an open letter on Facebook.
Orlan said the removal of the artwork made a “mockery” of the principle of freedom of expression only weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attack and a huge solidarity march in Paris in which David Cameron and some 50 other world leaders took part.
But that’s not all: A Museum in Belgium cancels Charlie Hebdo tribute because of Muslim threats of violence. Comics Museum near Brussels says police presented them with body of evidence on ‘nature of potential risks’ posed by Muslims.
i24 NEWS Belgian museum dedicated to the creator of comic book hero Tintin said Thursday that security concerns prompted it to cancel an exhibition honoring the murdered Charlie Hebdo magazine cartoonists.
The museum in Louvain-la-Neuve near Brussels said it took the decision after consulting Wednesday with police who foiled an Islamist plot in Belgium last week, which followed the jihadist attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris. “The police presented us with the nature of the potential risks we need to be attentive to,” said Nick Rodwell, director of the museum dedicated to the memory and works of Herge.
“We decided not to open our exhibition on Thursday morning insofar as it could raise the concerns of both museum staff and the residents of Louvain-la-Neuve,” he said in a statement. The exhibition was supposed to feature portraits of the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists as well as the latest controversial caricature of the prophet Muhammad, published after the Paris attack.
The government raised the threat alert to three on a scale of four after police conducted a series of raids January 15 to foil an Islamist plot to kill Belgian police.
The cartoons of the prophet triggered Muslim anger worldwide and sparked death threats from jihadist groups.
VOILA! ‘Je Suis Charlie’ is alive and well in Prague! Leave it to the Czech Republic, a country that has has big brass ones when it comes to beating back the threat posed by Islam, to show the kind of courage that Western European leaders lack.
Prague Monitor (h/t Nat) An exhibition presenting nearly 200 front pages of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, whose Paris editors were recently killed by terrorists, was opened in Prague’s DOX gallery Wednesday, amid security measures.
DOX gallery founder Leos Valka told Wednesday’s daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) that both the preparation of the exhibition and its opening for invited guests on Tuesday were kept secret. The national and municipal police and the anti-terrorist squad has been participating in the security measures accompanying the exhibition.
Last week, a similar exhibition was to open in Belgium but the organisers cancelled it at the last moment, apparently after a discussion with the Belgian secret service, HN writes. Valka said he hopes Czechs will be able to make their own opinion about Charlie Hebdo thanks to the Prague exhibition.
“With a few exceptions, the Czech public has had no opportunity to see Charlie Hebdo. We translated the main caricatures into Czech and English as otherwise they would not make sense to people who don’t speak French,” he told HN. Valka said he got the idea of this exhibition after he read that Paris galleries were planning an exhibition on Charlie Hebdo.
From private collectors Valka borrowed old copies of the magazine, which was first published in 1960. After several bans it was renamed from Hara-Kiri to Charlie Hebdo. It was banned for a lack of respect for the death of French president Charles de Gaulle.
“We wanted to show that Charlie Hebdo editors have been strongly against the authorities for a long time. The magazine always had a markedly left-wing character and it has been consistent for years. It had no taboos and was critical of everything,” Valka told the paper. He noted that DOX does not try to analyse the magazine from the ethical or artistic points of view.
DOX has been regularly organising exhibitions dealing with political and social issues. One of them, Modes of Democracy, has been running since November and it will last until mid-March. It wants to present inspirational stories of democracy from around the world.
Also Wednesday, the National Technical Library in Prague and the People in Need NGO organise the screening of a documentary film on a trial of Charlie Hebdo over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published eight years ago, to be followed by a discussion on Islam in Europe.