Portraits of Terror is a painting series of 13 works that explores the terrorist culture found within areas of the Palestinian territories. This ideology uses radicalized Islam to legitimize terrorism carried out, often by Palestinian youth, in Israel and abroad.
The paintings deconstruct the Palestinian terrorist culture into specific themes, that when combined in a restrictive environment that suppresses all other points of information or opinion, result in the systematic brainwashing of the youth into terror.
Themes that are discussed in the series include: Holocaust denial, the Nazi background of Haj Amin al Husseini and his influence on modern Palestinian Terrorism, the use of Anti-Jewish libels in newspaper print over the past 150 years, the glorification of martyrdom, the appropriation of Nazi imagery by Islamic terrorists, and sheer brutality.
Portraits of Terror was created to promote dialogue on the issue of Terrorism, which in today’s world proves a relevant topic that affects all nations and religions.
Unfortunately, Portraits of Terror, which was scheduled to debut on April 23, 2006 at the Patterson Gallery in the School of Visual Arts at Penn State University, was censored by Charles Garoian, director of the School of Visual Arts at the consensus of the faculty of the School of Visual Arts citing Penn State’s Zero Tolerance policy for Hate and its non discrimination policy, as well as referring to the artwork as non-promoting of democratic ideals and dialogue.
Distinguished professor/artist Robert Yarber, who supported anti- Israel material at the school, was an active participant in censoring the work. The censorship of Portraits of Terror gained national attention from the news media as an example of anti-Israel sentiments on the college campus.
Portraits of Terror has never been exhibited at Penn State University. A separate contract had been made to exhibit the painting series at Gratz College in Philadelphia, but these plans were cancelled, ironically for fear of terrorist attack against the institution.