BERLIN – A female Muslim student at the University of Duisburg-Essen ripped down parts of a graphic novel exhibit, which included the work of the internationally known Israeli artist Rutu Modan.

In a commentary in the left-liberal website Taz on Thursday, journalist Pascal Beucker attributed the June 24 attack on the exhibit “to an anti- Israel, if not anti-Semitic, motive.”

German media declined to name the Muslim student.

Beucker noted that the university’s management remains puzzled over the student’s conduct.

The university opened the exhibit, What Comics can do! – Recent Trends in Graphic Fiction,” in its library at the end of May.

The Muslim student cut with a scissor photographs from a collage based on Modan’s seminal work Exit Wounds (“Blutspuren” in German).

The collage showed a peace demonstration in Israel with a poster containing the word “Shalom.”

After the vandalism, the university pulled the plug on the exhibit.

Modan, who lives in Tel Aviv and was born in Tel Hashomer, has garnered international fame with her illustrations. Her graphic novel Exit Wounds catapulted her onto the international stage in 2007, with Time magazine listing the work as one of the 10 best graphic novels of 2007.

Exit Wounds tells the story of Koby Franco. He works as a taxi driver in Tel Aviv and crosses paths with a female soldier who informs him that a suicide bomber killed his father, with whom he had lost contact. Franco and the soldier begin a detective journey to uncover his father’s reported death.

The University of Duisburg-Essen has a student body of more than 30,000.

German media reported that Muslim students objected to parts of the larger exhibit, particularly the work from the comic book Habibi, penned by US comic and novel artist Craig Thompson. According to Taz, the students said their religious feelings were injured by the depiction of sex scenes in Habibi and because the word “Allah” is written in Arabic calligraphy.

The Guardian said that Thompson’s “epic tale – set in a timeless Middle East that fuses exotic legend with grim modernity – follows the fortunes of Dodola, an Arab girl sold into child marriage by her illiterate parents.”

The university management said it would conduct a conversation with the Muslim student about her conduct and reserves the right to take legal action against her, according to rector Ulrich Radtke.

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