Iceland-Made Mosque In Venice A Threat To Public Safety, Says Police - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland-Made Mosque In Venice A Threat To Public Safety, Says Police

Published May 7, 2015

Gabríel Benjamin
Photos by
Bjarni Grímsson

Iceland’s contribution to this year’s Venice Biennale has come under fire for being what the police call a security threat, reports The New York Times.

The exhibit, titled ‘THE MOSQUE: The First Mosque in the Historic City of Venice’, sees an old and unused church, Santa Maria della Misericordia, being turned into a functional mosque. Despite a letter of warning from the police that the site was ill positioned to be monitored adequately given “the current international situation and the possible risks of attack by some religious extremist,” artist Christoph Büchel and the exhibit’s curator Nína Magnúsdóttir decided to go on.

Venice has a long history of trading with the East, but The New York Times report that there is no mosque situated near its historic city centre. The project is made in collaboration with the Muslim communities of Iceland and Venice.

The exhibit opens this Saturday and will remain open until November 22.

Update: The original story said the church in question was St. Mark’s Basilica, when in fact it is Santa Maria della Misericordia.

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