If you believe the narratives of modern Zionists and Islamophobes, Jews and Muslims exist in a natural state of animosity. The relationship between the people of the two faiths is, according to this story, typified by massacres, oppression and antagonism, and the current situation in Palestine is just one episode in a long history of conflicts.
Want something truly provocative to discuss at Passover next week? Or, if you’re among the 2 billion Christians approaching Holy Week and thinking about the history of Jerusalem: Want to revolutionize your understanding of what has unfolded across the Holy Land between Jews and Muslims?
What an interesting choice of subject. Although Thomas Block is not the first to claim that Sufism, a mystical tradition within Islam, has been a formative influence on the development of Jewish mysticism from the
Block, a Jew, independent scholar, and “citizen-diplomat,” spent more than 10 years researching and uncovering the hidden links between the mystical systems within Islam and Judaism, expressed in Sufism and Kabbalah, respectively.
The citizens of Iraq are no strangers to atrocity. Crimes against humanity have been perpetrated there and around the world for years, yet many Americans are largely unaware anything is wrong. This week, a group of artists and legal activists will do its best to change that.
Community activist Nadine Bloch insists that "all good political work is good theater." And to that end, artist and political activist Tom Block is producing the mother of all endeavors, the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival. Some 400 artists will participate in 200 free events taking place Friday through Sunday throughout downtown Silver Spring.
[Tom Block] isn't just any old painter hauling his easel out to capture another glorious Potomac River sunset. Rather, he insists on making art that has social relevance.... His expressionist style — think Willem de Kooning and Francis Bacon — gives a raw intensity to his subjects. And while Block has become known for his public art murals in Takoma Park, his Human Rights Painting Project portrait series gets the most buzz. Seventeen portraits of human-rights victims, along with each subject's individual story, are on view through July 22 at the Visions Exhibition Space in the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.
A dazzling array of colors sprang out from the canvasses lining the walls of the Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center in downtown Silver Spring on Saturday evening. Bright, vibrant reds and oranges mingled to create deeply textured, haunting portraits of human rights activists from all over the world.
...Block's work, which, at these dimensions, becomes a kind of wall itself, fills the viewer's visual field with what at first may appear to be a chaotic jumble of brightly colored graffiti-like marks. In fact, it is a very carefully orchestrated series of images echoing the allegorical quest of 30 birds in the spiritual epic of the same name written by the Persian Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar in 1177....