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29th June 2001
MCB STATEMENT ON 'THE LAST JUDGEMENT' BY GIOVANNI DA MODENA
The history of Islamophobia exists and we cannot deny it and we can't re-write it. It has to be accepted that there are enormous numbers of artefacts from European history that are by their very nature deeply offensive to Muslims. This ranges from the greatest art to the most grotesque slogans of the British National Party.
The task before us all is to recognise that this prejudice and misrepresentation and offence exists and the need to change the present to make a more respectful and tolerant future where we can live together without giving offence.
How could Muslims not be offended by a depiction of the Prophet being thrown into hell. It is not merely an image. It is the direct projection of attitudes of intolerance and hatred towards Islam - that attitude is the problem. It is with us even today. Covering up a painting is a short-term remedy but in the long run it is the changing of attitudes that matters.
You will not find any where in Muslim civilisation any comment that are disrespectful of Jesus despite the fact that there are very important distinctions in what Muslims know and respect of Jesus as a prophet and the basic tenets of Christianity.
This particular painting depicts a man, whom all Muslims deeply revere and aspire to emulate, in a most offensive manner. Portrayals such as this - including those of other Prophets (Jesus) are not in accordance with our Islamic beliefs and is therefore totally unacceptable.
For further information please contact the MCB:
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 52
Tel: 020 8903 9650
Fax: 020 8903 9026