Tunisian arts venue to reopen after attack by Salafists

Ahram Online, Wednesday 25 Jul 2012

Egyptian singer Ratiba Hefni to perform concert at newly reopened Abdeliya Palace following attack in June by Salafists who objected to depiction of Islamic themes in contemporary art exhibition

A general view of the Abdeliya Palace (Photo: Reuters)

Tunisia's Abdeliya Palace is set to reopen following an attack by Islamic extremists with a concert by Egyptian singer Ratiba Hefni on Wednesday.

The palace, located in La Marsa to the north of Tunis, was attacked on 10 June by ultra-conservative Salafists who destroyed artwork they deemed against Islam. They also threatened to kill the artists.

The event provoked riots across the country and the imposition of a three-day curfew in a number of cities.

"One of the most controversial works on display was an installation depicting veiled women as punching bags. Another showed veiled women in a pile of stones, a comment on the stoning of adulteresses in Islam. The work that caused most anger spelt the words Sobhan Allah (Glory to God) in ants," according to a Reuters report.

Abdeliya Palace is an important cultural venue participating in the annual Arts Spring Festival and reopened its doors to visitors on 20 July.

Ratiba Hefni is a performer of traditional Arabic music.

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