Another win for the bullies. The Telegraph has the story.
An artwork depicting high-heeled shoes on Islamic prayer mats has been removed from an exhibition after a Muslim group warned of possible violence in the wake of the Paris attacks.
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 ma[t]s with shoes.
Notice the lack of agent in that last sentence. Notice how much more sweeping but at the same time reasonable the stricture looks when it’s worded that way. Who considers it disrespectful? Why, no one in particular, but rather, everyone. It is considered; that means “universally.” It doesn’t mean that if you think about it, but most people won’t think about it, because who has the time?
I don’t consider it disrespectful to step on Muslim prayer mats with shoes. I consider it a rule, and one that I would obey if I were venturing into a mosque, because your house your rules. But I have no truck with all the nonsense about “respecting” god and god’s book and god’s prayer mats and all the rest of the palaver. And the rules apply only in your house. They don’t apply in everyone else’s houses and the outdoors as well.
But Bouabdellah took her painting down and replaced it with something more acceptable to the bullies.
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.
Three weeks, in fact. That’s all it’s been.
Ms Bouabdellah, 37, said on Wednesday 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.
Including a delegation from Saud-family Arabia…