The sad priorities of the Islamic world

Sooraya GrahamA photo, taken by Thompson Rivers University fine arts student Sooraya Graham featuring a Muslim woman wearing full Islamic dress and holding up a bra as she sorts laundry has stirred controversy in Kamloops, B.C. and once again shows the very troublesome priorities of the Islamic world.

Such is the perceived gravity of the situation that the Saudi Arabian Embassy has taken upon itself to get involved.

You read that correctly – the Saudi Arabian Embassy has gotten involved in a class art project of a Canadian student.

Islam is the only religion or institution which demands that the norms of our society be subjugated to its values. Whether it is the rights of women or the simple norms of sarcasm and humour, Islam continues to claim that it is above it all. For it, special rules need to be written. And should they not be, claims of intolerance, ignorance, insensitivity or Islamophobia are in order – or worse.

Upon the controversy, the picture was torn down by a staff member.

Should honesty and courage ever arise, however, Canadians would state the obvious; it is our society that finds it incredibly offensive for a woman to have her face covered when she is in public.

It ain’t the bra that is offensive.

What we stand up for reveals our priorities. The main priority of the leaders of the Islamic world is to protect the honour and dignity of Islam. There is no close second. With such a hierarchy of values the corollary is that the honour, dignity and worth of the human being suffers a massive demotion.

This is why over a dozen girls were left to burn to death inside a building that caught fire in Mecca in 2002. Saudi Arabia’s “religious police” (aka the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice) stopped the school girls from leaving the burning building because they were not in proper Islamic dress. It was decided it was better to let the girls burn alive than allow them to be seen in improper clothing by rescuers.

Values are everything.

I’m sure we will not hear much complaint from the art world about this incident. They reserve their outrage for the Christian/western world. They cry false charges of “censorship” when tax dollars are not made available to them to finance art they are perfectly allowed to create, sell and display at their own expense. That includes crosses put in urine (“Piss Christ”) and portraits of the Virgin Mary made from elephant dung. Those unimpressed with such nonsense and complain about financing it with their own money are called “theocratic”.

Here we had an art student’s class project ripped from the wall at a Canadian university because it dared have both a Muslim woman and bra in it. To add insult to absurdity, Canadians are then lectured by Saudi Arabia and other Muslims that we need to learn to be more “sensitive”.

However, you can bet the art world will indeed do their best to be “more sensitive” – to Islamic sensitivities, that is. It’s fun, cool and the “in thing to do” to insult Christians. But standing up against the blatant infringes on our culture norms made by Islamists requires both moral clarity and courage.

The liberal arts world is not known for either.


Mike Testani is a social and political commentator and graduate of the University of Windsor. He has worked 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry, owns his own business and does public speaking and lecturing. He is currently a writer for various local magazines such as BizX Magazine, Simply Windsor and Simply London.

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