A young French Muslim artist was attacked in Paris, Le Monde reported last week – simply because he preached coexistence.
Four men attacked the street artist Combo as he pasted some of his art on a Paris street earlier this month.
Combo is well-known for his street art around Paris, and he recently painted a mural with the "Coexist" symbol and a self-portrait.
The mural is surrounded by his own spray-painted factoids about Islam, such as “did you know Muslims finish their prayers ‘amen’ like Christians and Jews” or “there are 50,000 Muslim soldiers in France," according to the Guardian.
But the four men – reportedly Muslim, although Combo has declined to identify them – beat him for not agreeing to remove the installment.
“Tired that I wasn’t giving up, they left me bleeding and ran off," the artist noted. "They promised me the same treatment if I started again and advised me to shave off my beard.”
He emerged with several bruises and a dislocated right shoulder – but kept a sense of humor, telling Le Monde,“Too bad for them, I'm left-handed."
Combo noted in the interview that his art – which he termed "disruptive" – has taken him around the world, and he has had installments in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Lebanon. Each is thought-provoking; in his Lebanon installment, for example, he painted signs saying: 'Less Hamas, more humus.'
In this case, he said, he wanted to bring to France a voice for people who felt they were misunderstood. He himself is a man of many labels.
“First I thought I was French, but I quickly understood that I was Arab, then beur (French slang for second and third generation North African), now I'm told I'm Muslim," he noted.