U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. spurred the Met to action. Researchers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York launched ten-minute gallery talks to showcase Islamic contributions to the world’s heritage.
Sheila Canby, head of the Islamic art department at the Met.
(SOUNDBITE) SHEILA CANBY, CURATOR-IN-CHARGE, METROPOLITAN MUSEUM DEPARTMENT OF ISLAMIC ART (ENGLISH) SAYING:
“The idea was that we wanted to present the great accomplishments, artistic accomplishments and ideas, that were, are embodied in these works of art as a counter to the negative press and negative things that people say.”
Trump first proposed a temporary travel ban on Muslims during his presidential campaign last year. At the end of January, he signed an executive order barring citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from traveling to the United States for 90 days. Refugees from Syria were banned indefinitely. Trump said it was a national security measure meant to head off attacks by Islamist militants. In March, he revised the ban and removed Iraq from the list.
Margie Anderson took in one of the Islamic art tours.
(SOUNDBITE) MARGIE ANDERSON, HOUSTON, TEXAS, RESIDENT AND TOUR PARTICIPANT (ENGLISH) SAYING:
“I feel like the more pushback that we’re getting – that that part of the world is bad, and those people are evil – I look at enjoying and understanding and learning about this art as just kind of a political act. It just makes me want to enjoy it and appreciate it even more.”
Four U.S. courts ruled against Trump’s travel ban suspending its execution. But on June 1st the administration filed an emergency request to the Supreme Court seeking to reinstate it. The Supreme Court could act on that request as soon as this week.