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Art removed after Muslims protest

A video installation in Toulouse caused offence because it projected Koran images on pavement

MUSLIM protesters have had a pavement video installation celebrating Islam taken down because they said it allowed people to walk on Koran verses.

Moroccan Mounir Fatmi’s artwork, called Technologia, involves projecting video images on the pavement of the Pont-Neuf, which crosses the Garonne in Toulouse.

It shows turning circles, calligraphy, verses from the Koran and sayings of Mohammed.

The piece was supposed to be open over the next two weekends, but accidentally started on Tuesday night, before installations to stop people walking on it were in place.

Police say some 60-80 people assembled on the bridge to stop people walking on the images and one young woman was slapped for stepping on them.

One local woman, Charaza Boumzaa, 23, told Le Monde she was among the first to protest. “They’re putting the Koran on the ground, it’s unbelievable,” she said.

The artist and the mairie have now decided to withdraw the work, Fatmi saying that it was due to the fact it had been misunderstood, as he had no intention to provoke.

He added the work had previously been shown in Qatar. “There, a few kilometres from Saudi Arabia, it didn’t shock anyone, but it does in Toulouse. I’m upset about it, I don’t really understand.”

The work was meant to be part of the contemporary art festival Printemps de Septembre, and Fatmi was taking part for the first time.

Photo: Images forming part of the video installation - Galerie Hussenot © mounir fatmi

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