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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Dhimmitude at the DIA.

I did have yesterday off, so we decided to take the kids on their first visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Alas, it's still in the midst of a massive renovation/expansion, so much of the museum is closed off. But there's still plenty to gape at, including a real, dead mummy, which my children insisted on seeing, along with the Renaissance suits of armor, which the oldest two thought were cool beyond words. The rest of the place managed to hold their interest, too, and the new CafeDIA is great.

I also wanted to get to the Islamic art section (don't ask about the Byzantine, which is vanishingly small) to see the calligraphy, and was not disappointed. A copy of the Koran was quite beautiful, and it alone was worth the stop.

However, the description of the birth of Islam was certainly...uncontaminated by skepticism. The exhibit placard stated that Islam was born of the "divine revelations" given to Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel. Muhammad is described as "the Prophet." This is all done without a single qualifier such as "Muslims believe" or "Islam teaches."

No, no such license is given to any other religion in the museum. Indeed, no other religion gets its own section--everything else is by region or timeframe: Ancient art, European, Southeast Asian, African, etc. Given the varied art (in both time and location) collected in the Islamic section (Persian, Turkish, Arabic--much of which is secular in orientation), one is left with questions.

Oh, and on a similar note, Rich Leonardi discovers that the folks at American Catholic are fawningly happy to play the same tune.

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