An Islamic art exhibit is currently on display at Texas A&M University’s Reynolds Gallery in the school’s Memorial Student Center (MSC). The exhibit titled “Salaam” involves multiple groups:
“The MSC Visual Arts Committee has collaborated with the Muslim Students’ Association at Texas A&M University and the Islamic Arts Society of Houston to bring this unique and culturally immersive exhibit to campus, in order to share just a few personal expressions and interpretations of Islam with Texas A&M and the Bryan/College Station community,” the Visual Arts Committee site states.
It goes on to say that Islam itself, as well as the university’s MSA and the Islamic Arts Society, all share the “mission” “to spread peace and love, and to bring people together as a community. That is also the intention of this exhibit.”
An article on The Battalion quoted MSA vice president Sibba Al-Kahtani stating that “Islam is a peaceful religion.” She continued: “I know a lot of people don’t particularly believe that, but it is. It is a religion that allows you to find clarity within your own self. It pushes on forgiveness and being one with everything, almost. Peace is heavily emphasized in our religion and order because if you don’t have peace, you cannot be at rest.”
Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer asserted the opposite during an interview last year on The Alex Nitzberg Show when he said: “Anybody who has read the Quran—and more importantly anybody who’s read the Quran and understands and has also read how it is interpreted by mainstream Islamic authorities—nobody in that position could believe that Islam is a religion of peace.”
The exhibit was “curated by” the MSC Visual Arts Committee and the MSA and contains artwork by “artists from the Islamic Arts Society of Houston” and work by MSA students. MSC Visual Arts Committee Chair Mary Casillas said in an email: “The calligraphy piece was done by MSA members, as well as 2 2D pieces. The images in the center of the room were also submitted by MSA members.” According to a description online, “The MSC Visual Arts Committee is a student committee of the Memorial Student Center.”
The Islamic Arts Society also exhibits at public libraries. A post on the Society’s Facebook page mentions four public libraries in Texas—one library has an exhibit in January and the other three libraries will have their exhibits in the coming months.
Last summer the Society exhibited in Houston’s city hall, displaying “the work of 24 artists belonging to the Islamic Arts Society,” according to a press release about the event.
Part of the Islamic Arts Society’s mission statement reads: “By promoting Islamic arts we hope to promote mutual understanding and to bring the broader American community together.” The banner image on its Facebook page carries the text: “Building Bridges Through Art.”
The Islamic Arts Society says on its website:
“Islamic art encompasses the visual arts produced from the 7th century onwards by people of the Islamic lands. It spans many different regions, cultures and 1400 centuries. It is not art specifically of a region, or of a time, or of a single medium like painting. It is not restricted to religious objects or architecture, but applies to all art forms produced in the Islamic World. Islamic Art refers not only to works created by Muslim artists or for Muslim patrons but includes art produced by non-Muslim artists or by Muslim artists working for a non-Muslim Patron. Thus Islamic arts encompass a very broad field spanning over 1400 centuries and 5 continents. It includes many art forms such as calligraphy, painting, glass, ceramics, metal, leather, woodwork, rugs and textile.”
Alex Nitzberg is a freelance conservative journalist and commentator and the host of “The Alex Nitzberg Show” podcast. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube