Museum Will Go on With Arab Exhibit
By Associated Press
September 28, 2001, 9:33 PM EDT
OTTAWA -- A Canadian museum criticized for postponing an exhibit of Arab-Canadian artists after the terrorist attacks in the United States announced Friday it would proceed with the display as planned.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien had said he disagreed with the decision by Ottawa's Canadian Museum of Civilization to indefinitely postpone the exhibit by 26 artists titled "Lands Within Me," which was scheduled to open Oct. 8.
Museum president Victor Rabinovitch acknowledged the criticism in announcing the exhibit's opening.
"Personally, I regret any hurt that may have been caused by our original decision to delay the opening," he said. "Given the reaction of so many people, our decision is simply: `Fine, we'll go ahead as intended."'
The exhibit's theme is the experience of Arabs who have immigrated to Canada. When the postponement was first announced, museum officials said they wanted to add more information and historical context about the Arab world after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks killed and injured thousands of people in New York and Washington.
Participating artists had joined Chretien in criticizing the postponement, saying the museum feared any association with Arabs.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Chretien has repeatedly condemned assaults and harassment of people perceived to be Muslim or Arab and urged Canadians to show tolerance for Islam and its followers.
Copyright © 2001, The Associated Press