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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Banning All Images For Fear Of Islamic Backlash

As violent protests over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad continue around the world, a St. Paul charter school is quietly negotiating the delicate question of how to teach art to Muslims.

Any depiction of God and his prophets is considered offensive under Islam, and disrespectful representations are even worse, as the recent worldwide outrage over the Danish cartoons has shown. But some Muslims also refrain from producing images of ordinary human beings and animals, citing Islamic teaching.

That presented a challenge for Higher Ground Academy, a K-12 school just west of Central High School on Marshall Avenue that has about 450 students. About 70 percent of them are Muslim immigrants from eastern Africa.

Executive Director Bill Wilson said he had concerns for some time about how to reconcile the school's art curriculum with the views of Muslim families, but the departure of the art teacher at the end of last school year gave him a window to act. This fall, he hired ArtStart, a St. Paul-based nonprofit organization, to offer more options for about 150 kindergartners through second-graders, including visual arts and drumming. But parents were still upset that their children were drawing figures, Wilson said, and some pulled their children out of art class altogether.

Wilson then sat down with teacher and parent liaison Abdirahman Sheikh Omar Ahmad, who also is the imam at an Islamic center in Minneapolis, to work with ArtStart in determining how to meet state standards without running afoul of Muslim doctrine...

...Second-grader Hawi Muhammed said her parents don't mind if she draws people once in a while, but "God … doesn't like people to draw a lot," she said.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great site
» »

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a great story. Waiting for more. » » »

3:31 PM  

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