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Rageh Omaar examines the Muslim approach to visual art and why human depiction is a source of such controversy. He travels to the epicentre of Muslim worship, Mecca, and explores the significance and symbolism of the Kaaba. Rageh explains that artists from the Islamic world have been discouraged from creating depictions in any human likeness if they are in religious context. In the Qur'an, God is referred to as 'Al Khaliq' or 'The Creator', and this has been a point of contention between clerics and artists for centuries. Many Muslims believe that by depicting the human form or the form of any creature, the artist is putting themselves in the role reserved for God.
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First broadcast:
15 March 2012

Classroom Ideas

Could be used to introduce a project on art from different cultures. Students could study the history, beliefs and culture that surrounds Islamic art.