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A Conversation With. . .Nabil Mousa

Syrian-American artist launches "Judgement Day 911" project using MLK holiday to bridge cultures, understanding and foster healing.

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, artist Nabil Mousa has sought to bridge the divide and mistrust it created.

But it wasn't until the death and capture of Osama bin Laden, last year that Mousa, a Syrian-American, found the "thurnderbolt" moment that kickstarted an idea to use his skills as a muralist to create that bridge.

And so Judgment Day 911 was born.

When complete, the project, comprised of nine interlocking wooden panels, will create a 10-foot-by-50-foot length wall, religious symbols from the world's three major religions and a collage of passages from the Qur'an, the Bible and Torah.

But a key part of the project is getting others from all walks of life to share their feelings and contribute a part of themselves to the mural.

Today, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mousa is opening his Grant Park studio to post photos and other memorabilia, news articles, clothing and handwritten thoughts related to Sept. 11 on the mural.

Judgment Day 911 is Mousa's way of opening up a dialogue to tear down the walls of discrimination and prejudice that have been erected against Arabs. But in a wider context, it's to get people to see past the differences of all races, religions and cultures.

"People in general, have more in common than they have differences," Mousa told East Atlanta Patch.

It's no accident that he chose today — Jan. 16, the day the nation celebrates the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. — to launch the project.

"Martin Luther King is one of the greatest figures of our time. He had a strong message of peace," Mousa said.

"It was a message of equality. I felt it would be an honor to bring more of that on the day we celebrate Martin Luther King."

If you go: You'll be able to participate at the Mattress Factory Lofts – Studio No. 16,  300 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. SE in Grant Park. The studio will be open Jan. 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Art supplies will be provided.

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