'Muslim' Statue of Liberty painting in congressman's office draws controversy

Because Muslims are so welcoming of immigrants – especially non-Muslims – you have to wonder why this painting of the Statue of Liberty with Lady Liberty wearing a hijab has become so controversial.

I mean, really.  Anyone who can't see the propriety of depicting the symbol of welcome for immigrants dressed as a Muslim is just an Islamophobe.

O.C. Register:

A student painting that depicts the Statue of Liberty wearing a Muslim hijab, displayed in congressman Lou Correa's Santa Ana office, is being attacked as an unpatriotic violation of the separation of church and state by members of We the People Rising, a Claremont-based activist group that advocates stricter enforcement of immigration laws.

The group, including several Orange County participants, has asked without success that Correa remove the painting hanging with other finalists from the Democratic congressman's student art competition.

Because of the complaint, Correa said he asked the House Office of Legislative Counsel for advice and was told there was no legal issue. That has not appeased the activists, who are tentatively planning a Sept. 11 protest at Correa's district office.

"It's a bad example for our congressman," said Orange resident Mike McGertrick, an activist with We the People Rising. "He shouldn't have anything religious in his office. … I would like to see our Congress people be right-down-the-line patriotic."

McGertick went farther in his condemnation during a July 3 meeting with Correa's district director, Claudio Gallegos, calling the hanging of the painting in the office "reprehensible and disrespectful."

"In this day and age, we want to see that our elected officials are the utmost of patriotism," McGertick says in a video the group recorded and posted on YouTube.

Correa sees nothing objectionable in the painting, which comes at a time of controversy over Donald Trump's efforts to ban the entry to the U.S. of people from Muslim countries and about the treatment of Muslims in this country.

"You take it in the context of a lady, probably a Muslim American — with all that's going on, she's a proud American," Correa said by phone from Jerusalem, where he was attending meetings as part of a congressional information-gathering trip. "That's what it says to me."

Correa said it was important to not remove the painting because of a few complaints.

It's not a question of patriotism to me.  It's incredibly hypocritical to use the symbol of welcome for immigrants in the context that Muslims agree with that principle.  They do not.  Non-Muslim immigrants in most Muslim countries cannot become citizens. 

Correa glosses over the controversy by not even referring to the Statue of Liberty being misused.  "Probably a Muslim American"...?  Don't all American teenagers wear hijabs?  "Probably" nothing.  She is what she is, and it is offensive to portray our most beloved symbol of welcome as part of a culture that spits in the face of immigrants.

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