Creator of the iconic Obama Hope poster, Shepard Fairey, is the artist behind the new and provocative symbol of The Women’s March, The American Flag Hijab poster.
Fairey once again borrows from the potent graphic language of the 20th-century totalitarian propagandists to create his striking new image.
The image of a Muslim woman draped in a Hijab fashioned from an American flag is designed to celebrate America’s tolerance of diversity.
The poster illustration is provocative and beautiful, but it is based on a half-truth.
As Fairey told The Middle East Eye, “The image of American flag hijab is very powerful,” Fairey said, “because it reminds people that freedom of religion is a founding principle of the United States and that there is a history of welcoming people to the United States who have faced religious persecution in their homelands.”
True enough, and America welcomes peaceful Muslims who are interested in assimilating into our free society, but Fairey is ignoring the disturbing fact that Islamic law is incompatible with and hostile to the ideas of religious freedom and gender equality.
He is ignoring the fact that many Muslims prefer Sharia to American law and that Sharia is an intolerant and oppressive system of control.
The artist says that he created his poster to highlight the fact that Trump’s positions are “Totally un-American” yet he used an icon of a system which is fundamentally un-American.
Now that “hope” seems lost in the wake of the presidency that spectacularly failed to the deliver the promises to end stupid wars, end illegal surveillance, restore the Bill of Rights and promote racial unity, it seems that submission to orthodoxy is the new message to the faithful.
The idea that Islam is the operating system in which female empowerment can flourish is an inversion of reality too bold for even Orwell to contemplate.
The graphic merger of Islamic symbols with American motifs does create a dynamic tension of ideas and iconography.
The paradox is that while the American system welcomes Muslims, the Islamic system does not reciprocate.
The thought of using a woman dressed in a costume designed to oppress females by the most patriarchal society on Earth as the literal poster girl for women’s rights is troubling.
Only a perverted sense of social justice could inspire the appropriation of the ultimate symbol of female oppression for the purpose of promoting women’s rights.
Covering women is a cultural expression of male dominance over women.
According to Dr. Bill Warner, editor of Political Islam:
“Muslim women accept that they have half the value of a man and that their entire body is a shameful sexual organ (‘awra’) that must be concealed by veils. They accept that the male head of the family is authorized under Sharia to be judge, jury, and executioner within his family in the matter of honor killings. Muslim women are sociologically isolated through cousin marriage, so they accept there is nothing they can do about their lot but submit. Even so, thousands of Muslim women commit suicide every year in order to escape from Islam. In Islam, women are ‘prisoners’ of men.”
Mr. Fairey is a master of creating imagery which resonates with the public and captures the political zeitgeist.
Unfortunately, in this case, his art does not fully resonate with the truth.