World

Crucified Ronald McDonald Enrages Arab Christians

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter

Arab Christians reportedly threw a firebomb and stones at an art museum in Haifa, Israel, over a display depicting a crucified Ronald McDonald called “McJesus.”

Police reported that the Molotov cocktail was thrown on Thursday and that a crowd of several hundred Arab Christians tried to force their way into the museum during Friday’s violent protest. Those who threw rocks injured three police officers. The protests came amid calls from local Christian leaders to remove the display, but the museum has thus far refused, saying that removing it in response to the outrage would violate free speech. (RELATED: Five Israeli Minors Arrested In Fatal Stoning Of Palestinian Mother Of Five)

Some Christian protesters alleged that Israeli authorities and the museum staff did not take their offense into consideration simply because they were Christian.

“If they put up [a sculpture of] Hitler with a Torah scroll they would immediately respond,” one protester said, according to The Times of Israel.

Police sent officers from their Special Patrol Unit to guard the museum after the Thursday firebomb, ahead of the protests on Friday. They have also begun an investigation to find the protesters responsible for injuring three of the officers with stones.

The “McJesus,” sculpted by Finnish artist Jani Leinonen, is featured in the “Sacred Goods” exhibit, which also features depictions of Jesus and Mary as Ken and Barbie dolls, and other displays using religious iconography. Haifa Museum director Nissim Tal met with church leaders of Israel after Friday’s protest and agreed to place a sign at the exhibit’s entrance warning museum patrons that it contains potentially offensive material.

Culture Minister Miri Regev, however, said that the art displays are not legitimate art and should be taken down.

“Disrespect of religious symbols sacred to many worshipers in the world as an act of artistic protest is illegitimate and cannot serve as art at a cultural institution supported by state funds,” she wrote to Tal on Thursday.

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