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.”
media declined to name the Muslim student.
Beucker noted that the
university’s management remains puzzled over the student’s conduct.
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
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
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.