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Of religion and arts – ‘Propaganda tool’

Ahmad Al-Sarraf

French historian Francois Blofog talked about the motives of militant religious hostility, arts and art forms.

He tried to understand the reasons for violent practices against women, such as the destruction of statues and shrines. He stressed that the two religions Islam and Christianity were the most hostile to arts, before the latter became lenient to art.

In an interview with AFP, Blofog tried to understand the reasons and motives for the attacks on the Buddha of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in 2011 by the Taleban and the devastation of the tombs of Timbuktu in Mali and the destruction of the historical monuments by the DAESH in Palmyra in Syria and Iraq and other events.

It seems that while the extremists see something that involves contempt in a place of worship, or if they feel offended, they react according to their feeling although destroying the monuments is not among the priorities of the Jihadists.

But they’re doing this because they present themselves as devout Muslims adhering to the teachings of Islam and rejecting paganism. They take advantage of such actions as a justification for their crimes.

In response to a question about why there is large amounts of art works in Christian churches although at one time they were a taboo, Blofog said at the beginning Christianity was free from paintings and has been like this for two centuries according to Jewish instructions.

As for the Jews, they did not attack the paintings or the statues for the simple reason they were not in power unlike the other major religions, such as Islam and Christianity.

The two religions rejected the statues and paintings. He pointed out that by the passage of time Christianity changed while Islam kept the enmity with statues and paintings.

He added the prohibition was already mentioned in the Ten Commandments of Moses. (I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.)

The Protestant churches, for example, still adhere to simplicity in the interior décor and exterior design, and often crosses are placed on the outside, and most often avoid the use of images and icons.

It is believed that this relative leniency shown by the Catholic Church did not prevent the Catholic militants from the violent rejection of many of the artworks. Most of the radical Christians showed their willingness to address the profanity, but the concept of blasphemy was removed gradually from most European countries.

In response to a question about whether the extremists can use the art to make propaganda for themselves Blofog said, ‘Many of the extremist groups do this but what they call art has nothing to do with art like the execution films of DAESH.

He pointed out that the difference between the actions of the Christian extremists and those of the Muslim extremists is that the latter aim at ruling the entire world through Islam while the actions of the Christian extremists are still limited to opposing a movie or the theatrical work art form.

email: habibi.enta1@gmail.com

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf


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