By Gillian Flaccus
The scene is seared into the American psyche: the residents of New Orleans engulfed by flood waters,
perched on rooftops and desperate for help as corpses float past and helicopters whirl overhead.
The depiction of Hurricane Katrina's devastating aftermath is a visceral image that Americans would expect
to find in a history book or on TV _ but not in the pages of the Quran, the holy book of the Islamic faith.
That's precisely why painter Sandow Birk chose to include a watercolor of the ravaged city in his latest
exhibit "American Qur'an," a re-imagining of the Islamic holy book that pushes cultural and religious
boundaries by blending the tome's ancient chapters with postcards from the American experience.
Birk hopes it will help the religious text speak to modern Christians as clearly as Muslims believe God spoke
to the Prophet Muhammad so many centuries ago. Many Christians also don't realize that the Quran contains
some of the same characters _ including Noah, Moses and Abraham _ they learned about in Sunday school,
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