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Culture

Art Expo in Berlin Reopens Despite Muslim Protests

A controversial exhibit by Danish artists in Berlin is set to reopen Tuesday, March 4. It had been closed after Muslim groups threatened violence if a work depicting Mecca wasn't removed from the show.

A woman in a headscarf walks past the gallery

The piece that stirred up protest hasn't been removed from the exhibit

The exhibit, consisting of 21 works by the Danish artists group Surrend, will go on unchanged in Berlin Galerie Nord, said city authorities.

Kenan Kolat, chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany, appealed on Tuesday to Muslims to demonstrate "more composure" regarding the art show.

"I stand for freedom of art," he said in a statement.

The provocative work in question shows the Kaaba in Mecca -- Islam's holiest place -- with the words "Stupid Stone" written above it.

Kaaba

The Kaaba in Mecca is a Msulim holy site

A poster depicting a man with a Jewish head covering and the words "Stupid Hat" was seen on the street outside the gallery, though it was unclear whether it had been drawn by the Danish artists or someone else.

Berlin to implement security measures

Municipal authorities said Monday that two private security guards would keep watch in the gallery. A senior official had said earlier that police patrols would drive by hourly.

The Tiergarten Art Association, which runs the gallery, said Monday in a press statement that is doesn't consider the planned security measures to be sufficient. At the same time, it emphasized that the show is "in no way anti-Muslim."

Surrend, formed in 2006, is known for its politically provocative drawings, posters and caricatures. The Berlin show also includes pieces that poke fun at neo-Nazis and radical Jews.

In a joint statement released Monday, the artists criticized the closing of the exhibit, calling it a "failure" and "terrible sign" of artistic freedom in Germany and Europe.

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