Berlin gallery in Kaaba insult row

Show of satirical works is temporarily closed after Muslims raise objections.

    Surrend said it had put on the show to
    oppose religious extremism AFP

    The Muslims objected to a depiction of the Kaaba, the ancient shrine in Mecca's Grand Mosque, which Muslims face to say their prayers.


    The protesters said objectionable words were printed on the poster.

    The gallery said the poster gave a "bitingly satirical commentary against radicalism".

    Ralf Hartmann, the gallery's artistic director, said:

    "They were very agressive and shouted at an employee that the poster should be taken down otherwise they would throw stones and use violence." 

    He said the gallery was working with German authorities to improve security and he hoped to re-open the show as soon as possible. 

    "It would be unacceptable if individual social groups were in a position to exercise censorship over art and the freedom of  expression," the gallery said.

    Neo-Nazis ridiculed

    Surrend said it had put on the show to oppose religious extremism.

    The exhibition also contained pictures which ridiculed neo-Nazis who believe Jews dominate global politics and industry. 

    Surrend members are mainly street artists and use stickers, advertisements, posters and websites to express irony. 

    In 2006, a Berlin opera house caused a storm in Germany when it cancelled a production of Mozart's "Idomeneo" which showed the Prophet Muhammad's severed head, citing security fears. 

    Earlier this month, Danish newspapers reprinted cartoons of the Prophet which caused outrage in Islamic countries and sparked violent protests across the globe two years ago.

    The drawings were republished after police arrested three men on suspicion of plotting to kill a cartoonist who drew one of the images. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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