‘Blasphemous’ art display involving Muslim prayer mats pulled from exhibition in Paris

An art display depicting high-heeled shoes on Islamic prayer mats has been yanked from a Paris exhibition after a Muslim group reportedly told authorities that it could provoke “uncontrollable, irresponsible incidents.”

The “Silence" exhibit, which has already been featured in museums in Paris, Berlin, New York and Madrid, was scheduled to go on display over the weekend in a woman-themed art show in Clichy La Garenne, according to The Telegraph.

But the French-Algerian artist behind “Silence,” Zoulikha Bouabdellah, said she scrapped the display after she found out that an Islamic group from the suburb – which has a large Muslim population – told local officials that it could spark “uncontrollable, irresponsible incidents.”

“I’m left wondering at the reasons that push a certain fringe among French Muslims to see this work as blasphemous,” Bouabdellah said Wednesday. “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.”

Stepping on a Muslim prayer mat with shoes is considered disrespectful, according to The Telegraph.

The decision to remove the artwork was met with protests from other artists who say freedom of expression is being undermined in the wake of the deadly Paris terror attacks.

“I protest against all pressures and/or threats that would result in a peaceful artwork being pulled from an exhibition, be it due to a Christian group, a Muslim group, or a group of other beliefs,”  the French artist Orlan, who has a work on display at the exhibition, posted on Facebook.

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