Israeli Student Receives Death Threats Over Art Project Wrongly Believed to be Criticizing Islam

An Israeli student from the University of Haifa is mired in controversy as people debate whether a piece of art she created for class went too far in unintentionally offending Muslim students.

Things went wrong when pictures of her artwork were shared online. It’s an Islamic prayer rug with the words “God is dead; keep praying” written in Arabic over it.

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If you ask the student, this is a criticism of ISIS. She explained that people often say to those they pity “You don’t have God” (the same way Southerners say “Bless your heart”). Her message was all about pointing out the hypocrisy of Islamic extremists, “which seemingly keeps all the commandments, but basically don’t believe that religion is morality, compassion and love.”

If you ask her critics, this is desecration of a Muslim rug, so she hates Muslims.

They’re wrong, but her life is still in danger. Look at how resilient she is in her responses, though:

I received death threats and messages from people who said that they wanted to kill me and banish me from [the town of] Umm al-Fahm, and there were curses too. I don’t regret it, and I don’t think that I made a mistake. The people who made a mistake are the people who hurt me.

The school also deserves credit for handling the situation as well as they could and siding with the student.

Haifa University commented on the controversy, “This was a homework assignment by a student in the art school, and, as with other assignments, it was presented for the students and lecturers to review, they had a discussion about it, and later it was removed. We will maintain the freedom of expression of all of our students.

If anything, we’re seeing yet another example of how religious dogma is leading some people to take drastic actions against someone they think is insulting their beliefs. If you can’t handle supposed criticism of your ideas, there’s something wrong with your ideas, not the critic. And this isn’t even criticism. It’s a misunderstanding that could theoretically end with the loss of life.

(Thanks to Brian for the link)

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