CAIRO – A group of Muslim youth at the Islamic center of New York has come together to send a message of community and religious unity among different American faiths by recreating Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”.
“For this year's photo, we wanted to do something that, in its own humble way, aimed to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western cultural and religious norms,” Fatima Ali told The Huffington Post on Monday, December 16.
“We looked up the painting, assigned each person a character, and meticulously tried to mimic the image, while also making it our own.”
According to Ali, the photo was shot by Atif Ateeq for the group of friends who hosted an annual Friendsgiving.
The celebration usually occurs on the Wednesday before or the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, since Thanksgiving is usually reserved for family gatherings.
The group pictured in the photo had their touch on the iconic piece.
“Most of the people pictured in this photo have been active members of the Islamic Center at NYU, and I think one of the greatest values we all have shared is this overwhelming sense of community and religious unity," Ali said.
"I don't mean just Muslim unity or Muslim community, I mean on a more universal level, being respectful and considerate of all faiths and religious communities."
Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’ is a late 15th-century mural painting in the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie, Milan.
According to Christian beliefs, the painting represents the scene of The Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples, as it is told in the Gospel of John, 13:21.
Leonardo has depicted the consternation that occurred among the Twelve Disciples when Jesus announced that one of them would betray him.
Ali asserted that the photo received huge reaction, with most comments praising the new photo’s diversity.
She said that some Christians have commented on the photo to say that "this is probably what the people sitting at the Last Supper actually looked like (brown skin, darker features, etc.) instead of the alabaster faces that are strewn across Da Vinci's original work," while others took offense at their recreation of a sacred Christian moment.
"For better or worse, we have genuinely appreciated everyone's comments. Our goal was to start a discussion, to open minds, and to obviously have a killer holiday card that would rival the Kardashians," she added.
The last supper is well detailed in Christianity.
In Islam, there is a similar incident that is mentioned in the Qur’an, specifically in a chapter called “Al-Maidah”, translated as “the feast” or “the table spread”, and it means “a table spread with food”.
The Qur'an gives a concise story, explaining that it was a trial of faith for Jesus’ disciples; whoever passes shall receive Paradise, otherwise it would be a great torment.