Do you remember the movie „Carrie“ by Brian De Palma? The film is an adaptation of a novel by Stephen King, and deals with the character of Carrie White, whose mother Margaret has fallen into a religious mania after the death of her husband. Carrie never had any sex education. When Carrie experiences her first menstruation in the shower after gym class, she panics because the blood represents sin in her mind. The film clearly shows how oppressive religious fanaticism can be; in the film it leads to Carrie committing mass murder.
In an information leaflet from the Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and Culture of Rhineland-Palatinate from 2011 one reads:
„Sex education is a shared responsibility between parents and school. According to § 1 (3) SchulG (State Education Laws) sex education is part of overall interdisciplinary school education. A claim for exemption from sex education does not exist, inclusive religious reasons. That is settled case law. Sex education programs in schools are designed with consideration to the principles of moderation and tolerance. Schools must respect different value systems (see Policies for Sex Education from June 22, 2009, Official Gazette p. 193).
Parents will be informed in good time before the start of sex education classes concerning the objectives, the content and form. In the context of parent-teacher conferences, but also in individual meetings, parents’ concerns may be jointly discussed whereby solutions acceptable to all parties can be found. It is reassuring for parents to know that during their child’s instruction a sensitive approach to language and carefully chosen media is guaranteed.“
The leaflet bears the name „Muslim youth in school“ and also deals with the concerns of parents, when their daughters go on school trips. The leaflet proposes:
„Parents should always be involved in finding solutions. Good experiences have been made when former pupils, trainee teachers, Muslim mothers or older siblings come along on school trips as escorts because they are familiar with the language and culture. Such measures soothe worried parents and build a trustful environment.“
Good idea! From fundamentalist circles of a culture in which an older brother may restore the supposedly lost honor of a sister and the family by resorting to murder, it’s a good idea to have an older sibling go along on a class trip in order to prevent the younger girl’s contact with supposed sinfulness. It would be nothing less than a catastrophe if a Muslim girl in the absence of her parents and siblings may discover during a class trip that women have equal rights and have a body that she may want to feel free with. This just can’t be and must be prevented.
When a work group on religion cooperates with the Ministry of Women to develop a school curriculum, we end up with a program which includes the views of religious fanatics like Carrie’s mother. With such compromising, we’re not far off from complete submission to religious fanatics.
In the sad month of November 2013, art curator Manfred Reichel took six artworks of nudes down from their wall hooks, out of respect for the religious feelings of Muslims who also frequent an exhibition hallway in the municipal adult education center in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. Juliane Witt (Die Linke), a councilwoman –competent in cultural affairs- from the Berlin district of Marzahn-Hellersdorf, explained the decision to remove the nudes: Marzahn-Hellersdorf stands for both „freedom of art and intercultural exchange“. Thus, Juliane Witt reduces the human right of freedom of art to a bargaining chip at the carnival of cultures.
At the United Nations, the human right to freedom of art is also just a bargaining chip. During negotiations in Geneva in 2013 on the Iranian nuclear program, the marble relief „The Creation of Man“ was veiled out of consideration for the Iranian delegation. The sight of naked people would not have been acceptable for the Iranian delegation; therefore works of art were covered in order to create a „neutral“ background.
In 2016 the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani met Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on the Capitol Hill in Rome to conclude multibillion dollar contracts, mainly in the energy, aviation and rail transport, health and agriculture sectors. Out of “respect for Iranian culture and Rohani’s beliefs“ the authorities had several nude statues in Capitol Hill museums hidden from view in specially made wooden boxes. That’s kowtowing to religious fanatics! When Iranian fundamentalists come to Europe, Europe veils its art and when European politicians travel to Iran, European politicians veil themselves. It’s only one culture that gets all the respect.
What would happen if Hassan Rohani visits France? Will the Mona Lisa get a headscarf painted on her?
In January 2015, when Green Party politicians, Claudia Roth and her colleague from the CSU, Dagmar Wöhrl arrived in Iran, both, of course, wore headscarves. The Iranian media were very excited about that visit. The Iranian news agency Fars reported on the meeting as follows:
„TEHRAN (FNA) – Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in a meeting with Vice-President of the German Bundestag Claudia Roth in Tehran on Sunday cautioned against the desecration of religious sanctities on the pretext of the freedom of speech, saying that such moves cause intense hatred among nations. ‘Insulting the divine religions and prophets on the pretext of the freedom of speech will provoke sentiments and hatred in the world,’ Larijani said during the meeting.”
Whoever doesn’t care about freedom of art probably doesn’t think much about freedom of speech!
„The vice-president of the German Bundestag, for her part, underlined the need for making the two countries‘ parliaments more active for enhancing bilateral ties, and said, ‘There are many capacities which can be utilized by Iran and Germany to help establish stability and tranquillity and eradicate violent acts.’ Earlier this month, the French satirical magazine once again published a sacrilegious cartoon of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), only a week after gunmen murdered eight journalists and four others at its offices in Paris. The move has hurt the sentiments of over a billion Muslims throughout the world and caused angry protests in many world states. The Iranian foreign ministry deplored the publication of the blasphemous Cartoon, describing it as a ‘provocative’ and ‘insulting’ move. ‘We condemn provocative moves and in our view, the weekly’s action is insulting and we condemn it completely since it will provoke and hurt Muslims‘ feelings across the world and will create a sequence of extremism in the world,’ Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said in Tehran.”
Tehran says it wasn’t the murder of cartoonists; rather it was the caricatures drawn by the murdered artists that violated the moral sense of over one billion Muslims. Claudia Roth and Dagmar Wöhrl both sat there with their heads covered with the required scarves, listening.
For years now, we’ve been experiencing the whittling away of enlightened values in the Western world. The appeasers call it respect. I call it groveling to the mothers of girls like Carrie. If we don’t start rethinking, we may soon face a final showdown by the Carries of the Muslim world.
(Translation by William Wires)