June 09, 2015

Source: Shutterstock

Which brings me to the sexy nun. Apparently there’s an Islamic rap star named Karter Zaher. Since I don”€™t follow rap in general, I didn”€™t expect to know who this guy is. But he seems to be very well-known. He has 661,000 Facebook followers, and his videos have millions of views on YouTube. His song “€œConvert for Me”€ features him giving an ultimatum to a young Christian girl to convert to Islam (ironically, were the religions reversed, that song would be a crime punishable by death in many Muslim countries).

And boy, does Zaher love hijabs! He extols the virtues of hijabs with the same gusto other rappers reserve for big booties. His song “€œHijabi Queen,”€ an homage to covering up, is one of his biggest hits. The Lebanese-Canadian Zaher is constantly lecturing non-Muslims about how we just don”€™t get the beauty of female modesty and submission. So to teach us decadent Westerners a lesson about our Islamophobic lack of appreciation for swathing the fairer sex, Zaher created this devastatingly effective meme, which he posted on his Facebook page. The caption is “€œThey both cover their hair, both are religious, both are beautiful inside and out. But One is Muslim & One is Christian. Is there really a difference between them?”€

It was originally posted last August, but I only came across it last week, as it went viral enough to cross the desk of a guy who ignores rappers in general and Muslim rappers in particular. 11,417 “€œlikes,”€ 2,593 shares, 1,243 comments. Yep, no difference between those two women. None at all. Except for the fact that whereas the woman in the hijab is a model for a site called Hijab Fashion Styles (a marketplace for “€œstylish”€ head coverings), the “€œnun”€ is from the site of a Belgian “€œavant garde”€ artist named Marc Lagrange, who specializes in mixing pornography with Christian imagery (one of his most popular works is a “€œtopless Last Supper”€ with nude models taking the place of Jesus and the apostles). Here is his site (warning: explicit images). The “€œnun”€ is no nun; she’s a nudie model. The photo is not intended to celebrate Catholicism, but denigrate it.

So here’s the irony: The photo of the “€œnun”€ whom Zaher praises as “€œbeautiful inside and out”€ is the product of Western freedom and Christian tolerance. Belgium is a mostly Christian nation, yet Marc Lagrange can create his “€œart”€ without getting beaten, threatened, or killed. And while I know plenty of Christians who would disapprove of Lagrange’s work, I don”€™t know a single one who”€™d murder him over it.

Without knowing it, the Islamist Zaher found beauty in blasphemy, and, by extension, in Western values and our tolerance of the sacrilegious. A tolerance that, even with the cultural degradation it sometimes brings, is still, in my opinion, a net gain. Because, as Zaher inadvertently found out, there can be beauty in the profane, whether it’s a sexy nun or a drawing of a prophet.


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