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Osama as Christ stirs debate in Australia

world Updated: Aug 31, 2007 00:23 IST
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Artworks depicting Osama bin Laden in a Christ-like pose and a statue of the Virgin Mary covered in a burqa have caused a stir in Australia after they were showcased in a prestigious religious art competition.

“Bearded Orientals: Making the Empire Cross” by Priscilla Bracks is a “double vision” print that depicts both Jesus and bin Laden.

Luke Sullivan’s “The Fourth Secret of Fatima” is a statue of Mary, her head and torso obscured by a blue burqa like the one Afghan women had to wear under the militant Taliban.

The artworks were among more than 500 entries in the Blake Prize for Religious Art.

“The choice of such artwork is gratuitously offensive to the religious beliefs of many Australians,” Australian Prime Minister John Howard told Thursday’s Daily Telegraph.

Australia’s 20 million population is overwhelmingly Christian and the print was condemned by the Australian Christian Lobby.