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Nation IN BRIEF : WASHINGTON, D.C.

Rehnquist Defends Muhammad Image

March 13, 1997|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Rejecting complaints from Muslim groups offended by a frieze depicting the Prophet Muhammad, the Supreme Court has declared that the marble sculpture in its chamber "is not a form of idol worship" and will not be altered, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist said in a letter. A coalition of 16 Muslim groups wrote the court last month asking that Muhammad's face be sandblasted off the north wall of the chamber in deference to Islamic beliefs. The depiction of a prophet is considered a sacrilege.

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