Frick Pittsburgh was the place for presenting an exhibition of thousands of years of Islamic artistic creations. Instead of hosting it this week, the institution postponed the gathering for 2024. Overall, this happened because of the ongoing Israel-Hamas War. The museum changed its pace to avoid becoming “a source of unintended insensitivity or offense”.
Both Jewish and Muslim Org Disappointed With Frick Pittsburgh
Initially, the museum postponed the display due to “a scheduling conflict,” according to the museum’s web page. Elizabeth Barker, the museum’s executive director, said: “We realized that we were about to open an exhibition that a forgiving person would call insensitive, but for many people, especially in our community, would be traumatic”.
Not everybody concurs. Jewish and Muslim organizations also took issue with the postponement. As they said, the decision “seemed to suggest or imply a false connection between masterpieces of Islamic art and terrorism”.
“The decision to postpone the … exhibition under the pretext of potential harm to the Jewish community perpetuates the harmful stereotype that Muslims or Islamic art are synonymous with terrorism or antisemitism“, Christine Mohamed, the executive director of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said.
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“Islamic has nothing to the with Hamas”
On WESA radio, Adam Hertzman, a representative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, reiterated that opinion. “Few people in the Jewish community would have been concerned about an exhibit on Islamic art because we understand that it has nothing to do with Hamas, which is a terrorist organization”, he said.
The exhibition was planned long ago, the institution said in a more comprehensive explanation, uploaded to its official website. “It would have been impossible to predict that war would erupt in the Middle East during the time of this show, prompting widespread heartbreak and mounting social tension. The exhibition lacked sufficient historical and cultural context and participation from the regional Islamic community and others”.
Walter B. Denny, a retired professor of Islamic art who helped prepare a publication related to the exhibition, told the Times the postponement is ironic since the exhibition was meant to help people understand the diversity of Islamic art. “The collection is so far away from anything that is remotely political or sympathetic to fanaticism”.