Monday, September 26, 2005

How To Disappear Completely
Tate Museum London Removes Artwork
For Fear of Offending Muslims

From Associated Press:

LONDON - The Tate Britain museum has removed a work made up of sacred texts, from Christianity, Judaism and Islam - torn and mounted on glass - to avoid offending religious sensibilities following the July transit bombings in London, the museum said Sunday.

The museum said it was particularly concerned that John Latham's piece "God Is Great" could upset Muslims. It pulled the work from an exhibition of Latham's art despite his objection.

"Having sought wide-ranging advice, Tate feels that to exhibit the work in London in the current sensitive climate, post July 7, would not be appropriate," the museum said in a statement.

Three of the four men suspected of carrying out the July 7 attacks, which killed 52 victims and the bombers, were young Pakistani Britons. All were Muslim, and much political debate in Britain has since focused on homegrown Islamic extremism.

"God Is Great" consists of a large sheet of glass and copies of the Quran, the Bible and Judaism's Talmud that have been cut apart, with the pieces mounted on either side of the glass to make it appear that they are embedded in it.

The museum put up a notice in the exhibition explaining the decision, including Latham's objection to it.

Latham, 84, who made his name as a member of London's 1960s artistic avant garde, said the piece, which he made 10 years ago, was not anti-Muslim.

"Tate Britain have shown cowardice over this," he told The Observer newspaper. "I think it's a daft thing to do because, if they want to help the militants, this is the way to do it."

Once in a while we are treated to an act of cowardice so outlandish that it seems almost brave to brave to have committed such an act in full view of the public. Tate Museums masterful display of dhimmitude is one such act.

If all of Western Civilization, or even just a significant portion of our citizenship, were to behave this way, we will disappear completely.

This decision by Tate Museum London rivals the killing of Theo Van Gogh, and the Fatwa against Salman Rushdie, as an assault on art and free expression.