Belgian Museum Cancels ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Exhibition

Officials say the security risk was too high.

The Musée Hergé, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. Photo ©Nicolas Borel, Atelier Christian de Portzamparc, courtesy of the Musée Hergé, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Among growing security concerns, the Musée Hergé in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, has decided to cancel a tribute exhibition in honor of the slain cartoonists of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The museum, located in Louvain-la-Neuve, near Brussels, took the decision after consulting with police experts, AFP reports. In the aftermath of the Parisian terrorist attacks, Belgian secret services and police have uncovered several Islamic cells in Belgium, one of them preparing to target newsstands selling Charlie Hebdo.

Raids on those terror cells resulted in the death of two alleged jihadis and the arrest of 13 others. In the last week, troops have been deployed across the country, which is currently on a high state of alert.

“The police presented us with the nature of the potential risks we need to be attentive to,” Nick Rodwell, the museum’s director, said in a statement. “We decided not to open our exhibition on Thursday morning insofar as it could raise the concerns of both museum staff and the residents of Louvain-la-Neuve.”

The cancelled exhibition included portraits of the murdered cartoonists as well as the cover of the latest Charlie Hebdo issue, published after the Paris attacks, which features a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad.

Rodwell suggested the exhibition might be re-scheduled, should the national alert level decrease in the coming weeks. The Musée Hergé is dedicated to the cartoonist Georges Remi (aka Hergé), who famously created the comic character Tintin.

Meanwhile, exhibitions and tributes in honor of Charlie Hebdo continue to Louvain-la-Neuve (see French Art Institutions Unite in Support of Charlie.

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