Greek Orthodox patriarchate demands museum removes offensive depictions of Christ

JERUSALEM, Saturday, The Greek Orthodox patriarchate in Jerusalem strongly protested on Saturday offensive depictions of Jesus Christ and Mary that were on display in a museum in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa.

It called in a statement on Haifa municipality to remove the paintings and sculptures that it said were offensive to Christians and demanded an apology for sponsoring such an event.

Palestinian Christians and Muslims demonstrated in Haifa of Friday outside the museum demanding removal of the offensive work. Police attacked the demonstrators with tear gas and dispersed them arresting at least one person.

Jesus was depicted as a clown and as a Ken doll, while Mary was depicted as a Barbie doll.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate said that it respects freedom of expression as long as it is not offensive to religions and beliefs. No one should offend others under the pretext of freedom of expression, it said.

It said the museum had these offensive depictions on display while the Christian world was celebrating Christmas.

The Islamic-Christian Commission in Support of Jerusalem and the Holy Sites has also condemned what it said was an obvious mockery of the image of Jesus Christ and his mother, the Virgin Mary, and an insult to all the heavenly religions and beliefs.

It warned that such work deepens animosity and hatred among people and provokes religious strife.

Hanna Issa, secretary general of the commission, called for closing the museum and to respect religion and their followers.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency