An Israeli student has received death threats after submitting an art project criticizing Islam – but was defended by her university, which stood up for her freedom of speech.
The unnamed student, who attends Haifa university, 60 miles north of Tel Aviv, handed in a Muslim prayer may with the words “God is dead; keep praying” painted over it.
The project sparked a furious reaction from Muslim peers, who posed photos of the piece online, which had previously only been shown to a few other students.
According to local news site Ynetnews.com, sharing the image led to a deluge of death threats, which led her to go to the police.
She said: “I got a lot of support, except for two students who photographed what I was presenting without my approval.
“They gave the piece a completely different interpretation. I received death threats and messages from people who said they wanted to kill me.”
She added “in everyday life, when you describe someone without pity, you say ‘you don’t have God’. I meant ISIS, which doesn’t believe religion is morality.”
Another student, however, told Ynetnews “[she] wanted to receive attention by harming religion. It’s unacceptable to write things like this. To write that God is dead really harms us.”
In a statement, the University of Haifa expressed its support for the student, saying “This was a homework assignment by a student in the art school, and as with other assignments, it was presented for the students and lecturers to review, they had a discussion about it, and later it was removed.”
“We will maintain the freedom of expression of all our students.”