Paris: Muslim Street Artist Beaten for ‘Coexistence’ Mural

February 11, 2015  

A young French Muslim artist was attacked in Paris, Le Monde reported last week – simply because he preached coexistence. 

Four men attacked the street artist Combo as he pasted some of his art on a Paris street earlier this month.

Combo is well-known for his street art around Paris, and he recently painted a mural with the “Coexist” symbol and a self-portrait. 

The mural is surrounded by his own spray-painted factoids about Islam, such as ​“did you know Muslims finish their prayers ‘amen’ like Christians and Jews” or “there are 50,000 Muslim soldiers in France,” according to the Guardian

But the four men – reportedly Muslim, although Combo has declined to identify them – beat him for not agreeing to remove the installment. 

“Tired that I wasn’t giving up, they left me bleeding and ran off,” the artist noted. “They promised me the same treatment if I started again and advised me to shave off my beard.” 

He emerged with several bruises and a dislocated right shoulder – but kept a sense of humor, telling Le Monde,“Too bad for them, I’m left-handed.”

Combo noted in the interview that his art – which he termed “disruptive” – has taken him around the world, and he has had installments in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Lebanon. Each is thought-provoking; in his Lebanon installment, for example, he painted signs saying: ‘Less Hamas, more humus.’ 

In this case, he said, he wanted to bring to France a voice for people who felt they were misunderstood. He himself is a man of many labels. 

“First I thought I was French, but I quickly understood that I was Arab, then beur (French slang for second and third generation North African), now I’m told I’m Muslim,” he noted. 

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