Wednesday, May 24, 2017

New Jersey town used zoning to discriminate against Islam

By Jim Dwyer
A rendering of the proposed mosque in Bernards Township, N.J., which has been entangled in a protracted battle over parking spaces. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times
BERNARD'S TOWNSHIP, NJ---This is the chronicle of how a founding principle of this country, the freedom to worship, crashed into a public bureaucracy in the venerable and prosperous New Jersey suburb of Bernards Township. More than five years ago, the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge sought permits to build a mosque big enough for 150 people on a four-acre parcel, where zoning permitted houses of worship. This week, there is still no mosque — but five years of hearings and litigation about the proposal are drawing to a close. The settlement would include the building permit long denied to the Islamic Society. [More]

Kenyan artist blasts National Museum for censoring his 'religious' art pieces

By Grace Kerongo
Soi explained his symbolic, not realistic, painting stands for the closeness of church leaders and politicians in Kenya, a highly religious country.
NAIROBI---Controversial artist Michael Soi has gone ham on the National Museum of Kenya for commissioning work for the Museum Day, then turning it down, claiming it has "issues revolving around nudity". Soi told Word Is, "We presented our work to the museum three days ago and a few hours later we got a call to go to the museum. They told us they 'looked at the work and felt that the work was not appropriate for our audience.' We were literarly told to present either new work as an option because this would never go up in the gallery." The theme for the Museum day was "Speak The Unspeakable". Soi opted to address this issue by painting art pieces about contemporary religion. [More]

Two men are sentenced to 3 years for attack on Sikh man

By Maya Salam
Maan S. Khalsa after he was attacked in September. Credit The Sikh Coalition
Two men were sentenced on Thursday to three years in prison for attacking a Sikh man in California last year, repeatedly punching him through his car window and cutting off his hair. The men, Chase B. Little and Colton T. Leblanc, both of Texas, each pleaded no contest to felony assault with a hate crime enhancement in the beating of Maan S. Khalsa, 41, in Richmond, Calif., near San Francisco, on Sept 25, 2016. Mr. Khalsa, an information technology specialist, was dressed in traditional Sikh garb, including a turban, while heading to a religious ceremony. [More]

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

‘Extraordinary’ religious art, and more of King Charles I reassembled

The Supper at Emmaus, c1530, by Titian © RMN-Grand Palais/Stéphane Maréchalle
LONDON---Masterpieces from the “extraordinary” art collection of King Charles I, most of which was sold off after his execution and dispersed abroad, will be reunited for the first time in 350 years for an exhibition next year. An avid collector and artistic patron, the Stuart king assembled around 1,500 works and 500 sculptures over 20 years, including works by Van Dyck, Rubens, Titian, Holbein and Mantegna. But after he was beheaded in 1649, the Republican government sold off the bulk of his collection — some to Palace workmen whose bills had not been paid — and melted down pieces in gold and silver. [link]