Iraq’s new education minister has re-opened music and theater classes in art institutes in the country, thwarting his predecessor’s ban on the classes.

Mohammed Tamim who was inaugurated as Iraq’s new education minister late December 2010, told Alarabiya that prior the closure of the music and theatre classes, the decision was studied by his predecessor, Khudhair al-Khuza’i.

But now as Iraq’s new education minister, Tamim said that he became the decision-maker.

 I rejected the closure of the music and theatre classes, and I ordered that they should continue 

Mohammed Tamim, Iraq's education minister

“I rejected the closure of the music and theatre classes and I ordered that they should continue,” he said.

The ex-education minister did not disclose the reason of the ban, but most of the students and the teachers in Iraq's art institutes speculated religion as the reason.

One of the teaching staff in Baghdad’s Fine Art Institute told Al Arabiya that during one of his previous media interviews he criticized the ban imposed on music and theatre classes.

He said that he was interrogated by the police afterward, but now due to the new announcement of re-opening the classes the “probe” against him was overturned.

Al-Khuza’i has also called for the removal of statues found at the entrance of Baghdad’s Fine Art Institute for its questionable permissibility in Islam.

Iraqis who were against the ban agreed that music, theatre and statues do not violate religion and that the ban is against freedom of expression.

Tamim belongs to the secular al-Iraqiya list led by Iyad Allawi and has worked as Karkuk’s university’s dean in 2003 and 2004. Later he became a member of the House of Representatives for two consecutive cycles.

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J.J. El-Far