Our primary task was to help our readers understand the Islamic world both today and at its cultural and artistic peak 500 or so years ago.
All of which is one reason I'm really glad the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is opening an exhibit on Saturday called "Echoes: Islamic Art and Contemporary Artists."
There will be exhibits, programs and events that will help us understand the ways in which Islam is portrayed in art. Which in turn will help us understand Islam better.
One of the most insightful ways to study any religion is through the music and art it inspires, though of course there is always a wide range of expressions, so it's hard to generalize. In Christianity, for instance, you have everything from Handel's stunning and classical "Messiah" to contemporary praise music, some of which I love and some of which I call 7-11 music -- seven words repeated 11 times. And I haven't even mentioned Christian rock.
So have a look at what the Nelson will be offering and plan to see it. In fact, if you're not Muslim, go see it with a Muslim. If you are a Muslim, go see it with someone of a different faith.
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HOPE THEY BUTT OUT, SYRIA-SLY
As we continue to think about things Islamic, let's hope that the author of this good piece is listened to. If it he, it would mean that neither Muslim nor Christian folks who hope Damascus, Syria, is destroyed and the world essentially ends so the Second Coming can happen will have any influence over events there. Folks with end-of-the-world scenarios are a bit frightening when they seem certain they're right.