Young students discover the cultures of Islam in Rillieux-la-Pape

Rillieux-la-Pape (Rhône)

From our correspondent

In front of the window, the young CM2 students go so far as to jostle each other to observe it more closely: among the scenes engraved with precision on this imposing copper candlestick, fashioned in Mosul (Iraq) in the 13th centurye century, is an episode from the life of Christ. “It’s weird, isn’t it?” “, We wonder in the ranks, before Coline Pissard, the mediator, takes the floor.

“It may seem surprising and yet, one only has to take a look at the name of the craftsman“ Salameh ”to understand that he probably came from a large Christian family: contrary to what one might think, he is a territory where different religions coexisted! “, explains the young woman, who coordinates the last exhibition of L’Échappée, the media library of Rillieux-la-Pape (Rhône).

Like 18 other cities in France, this suburb located north of Lyon has been hosting the project “Arts of Islam, a past for a present” for nearly a month., which showcases around ten objects on loan from Parisian museums such as the Louvre, and a few Lyon institutions. The goal? Deconstruct the received ideas on the culture of Islam and enhance its links with France in the eyes, in particular, of its core target: the school public. “By the end of the week, 70 teachers will have come to see her with the idea of ​​organizing a visit! “, assures Coline Pissard.

This Monday afternoon, the group from the Semailles school, located just a few hundred meters away, is first marked by the aesthetics of these fragile objects, whose temperature and lighting are constantly controlled, illuminations from certain religious or poetic manuscripts in shades of blue from Iranian coins. But the wonder does not weaken the curiosity of the pupils: the beginning of the visit is punctuated by questions and reflections, many of which relate to ” the Prophet “. “

If their guide does not seek to dodge the representation or the idolatry that has crystallized many debates in recent years, she insists on one thing: “Religion is only part of the culture of Islam. “ The visit broadens its definition to “Stories and stories” like that of forbidden love between Leila and Majnoun told on this large 16th-century carpete century, “A kind of Romeo and Juliet! “, she slips, or to “Commercial and cultural exchanges”, as evidenced by this decorative bowl originally from Iran but imitating Chinese porcelain.

This is the object that Jasmine, 10 years old, chose to draw at the end of her questionnaire: “I knew a few things about Islam but I didn’t think it meant so many things”, she sums up. Their teacher took the opportunity to design a long-term project: in addition to analyzing works of art, videos and texts, the class will soon bring in an Arabic-speaking singer to learn songs mixing two languages.


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