Friday, April 13, 2012
This news story is so moving. I think that as we move towards a more tolerant society, we need to protect freedom of expression. The story is how a Thompson Rivers University student, Sooraya Graham, a Canadian woman who is also Muslim and chooses to wear a niqab and abaya took a photograph trying to portray an image through art that Muslim women - even those who wear traditional dress are normal.
This is Canada, she is Canadian, and she has the right to express herself through this medium and the fact a a Muslim man complained should not have resulted in her photo being censored. As her professor says, it is an example of what art should do - make you think and consider the world through a different lense.
I`m not saying the Muslim student group who were offended by the photo can`t express their reasons, but I am saying that that offense should not silence the voice of their fellow students - who is one of their own faith. I will say though that the reactions of the offended student group and Saudi Arabia`s embassy does say alot about their own views on women`s rights - both to freedom of expression and personal freedoms such as whether to allow others to take photos of you...while you are fully clothed...folding laundry. Strange that such as everyday occurrance can be so thought-provoking...and so offensive?!...as to make news....in Canada!
Today, although Sooraya and I are far apart on religious issues - I want her to know that I support her rights and freedoms. I think her photo is very compelling on so many levels. In fact, I`m even a little glad that this controversy happened - because now even more people will see your work and hopefully stop and think about their own biases.