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    Monday, October 09, 2006

    Tasteless humor and art unwelcome

    A London gallery has decided not to show some works of art because it fears they would upset Muslims, a curator said on Friday, a week after a German opera house canned a Mozart production for the same reason.


    The director of Britain's Whitechapel Art Gallery decided to remove works by surrealist artist Hans Bellmer from an exhibition the day before it was due to open, one of the museum's curators, Agnes de la Beaumelle, told Reuters.

    "The motive was simply to not shock the population of the Whitechapel neighborhood, which is partly Muslim," she said.

    Beaumelle said the exhibition had already been to Paris and Munich without provoking any protests and Bellmer, who died in 1975, is well known in the art world, which made the decision by gallery director Iwona Blazwick all the more surprising to her.


    Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen yesterday condemned members of an anti-immigrant party who appeared in Web videos mocking the Prophet Muhammad, prompting protests from Muslim leaders around the world.


    In the videos, posted online last week and reported by the Danish newspaper Nyhedsavisen on Friday, a group of young politicians was shown conducting a drawing contest. One woman presented a drawing of a camel with the head of Muhammad and beer cans for humps as the group laughed.

    Rasmussen denounced the youth wing of the Danish People's Party in a statement, saying: "Their tasteless behavior does in no way represent the way the Danish people or young Danish people view Muslims or Islam."


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