Source: Pioneer Press
On February 17, 2006 the Pioneer Press reported, "As violent protests over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad continue around the world, a St. Paul charter school is quietly negotiating the delicate question of how to teach art to Muslims. Any depiction of God and his prophets is considered offensive under Islam, and disrespectful representations are even worse, as the recent worldwide outrage over the Danish cartoons has shown. But some Muslims also refrain from producing images of ordinary human beings and animals, citing Islamic teaching. That presented a challenge for Higher Ground Academy, a K-12 school just west of Central High School on Marshall Avenue that has about 450 students. About 70 percent of them are Muslim immigrants from eastern Africa. Executive Director Bill Wilson said he had concerns for some time about how to reconcile the school's art curriculum with the views of Muslim families, but the departure of the art teacher at the end of last school year gave him a window to act. This fall, he hired ArtStart, a St. Paul-based nonprofit organization, to offer more options for about 150 kindergartners through second-graders, including visual arts and drumming."