Muslim pressure turns art gallery into ‘no-go zone’ for religious freedom

Zoulikha Bouabdellah-top
Zoulikha Bouabdellah / Source: The Telegraph

A French-Algerian artist was forced to remove her exhibit from a north Paris suburban gallery after a local Muslim group warned it could kindle “uncontrollable, irresponsible incidents.”

No, it wasn’t a cartoon figure of Muhammad engaged in pedophilia, nor a photograph of an infidel defiling the Quran. It was, instead, a simple exhibit of high-heeled shoes sitting atop Muslim prayer rugs, which the artist, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, called “Silence.”

Very fitting, given the Islamist mindset that women are second-class citizens. But the Muslim community felt otherwise.

“Silence” / Source:

It’s considered disrespectful to step on a Muslim prayer rug while wearing shoes, The Telegraph reported.

Bouabdellah has exhibited her work at other venues, including New York, Berlin and Madrid — but not a north Paris suburb where a mere few weeks earlier millions gathered to celebrate freedom of expression. The irony wasn’t lost to the local art community either, according to The Telegraph:

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. Another four people were killed at a kosher supermarket, and a policewoman was shot dead near a Jewish school.

“I’m left wondering at the reasons that push a certain fringe among French Muslims to see this work as blasphemous,” Bouabdellah 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.”

And it’s a dialogue that’s been overdue for centuries.

An artist going by the name Orlan Orlan who also has work on display at the all-female exhibition was incensed, and posted an open letter on her Facebook page:

“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 said.

After a few days of celebrating freedom of speech after the slaughter at the Charlie Hebdo offices by Islamist murderers, Parisians once again bow to political correctness and the culture of diversity that first got them in the fix they’re in.

We can dunk a plastic Jesus into a mason jar filled with urine and call it art, but it’s somehow blasphemous to place a pair of high-heeled shoes on an Muslim prayer rug.

And it’s not just Paris.

The world is becoming far too politically correct, excessively afraid of offending Islam and overly obsessed with paying homage to our differences rather than celebrate those things that bring us together. And we’re fast losing our sense of humor in the process.


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