Freedom Folks

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Harper College Relinquishes Academic Integrity in the Name of Political Correctness

A couple of weeks back I tore Harper College a new one about their politically correct response to Muslim students' taking offense at a provocative art exhibit by an artist of Iranian heritage. (See my previous post.)

The artist, Amir Normandi, took part in a forum at the college on Tuesday. He was asked to explain why he included nude photos of Muslim women in his exhibit. (Read the entire article here.)

Saba Ahmed attended a Tuesday afternoon forum at Harper College to hear a Chicago artist’s explanation as to why he included photos of nude Muslim women in a photo exhibit last month at the Palatine-based community college.

But she left the forum with more questions than answers.

Ahmed, a 19-year-old Harper student from Island Lake, said the professional artist, Amir Normandi, didn’t fully answer questions regarding his works that included photos of nude Muslim women.

Perhaps Ms. Ahmed fell asleep when...

Normandi said his aim was to draw attention to the plight some Muslim women face in countries where they are required to wear a hijab.

“If it is chosen by a person, that is democracy. If it is forced on somebody, it is oppression,” said Normandi, who runs d’Last Studio in Chicago.

Seems straight-forward and, frankly, just plain right to me.

Asad Khan, head of Harper’s Muslim Student Association, supported the college’s decision to halt the exhibit.

“The exhibit is not portraying what the artist wanted,” said Khan, 21, of Hoffman Estates. “It’s portraying a completely different message that is degrading and hurtful.”

Ummm, no. Actually, it is portraying exactly what the artist wanted. He just stated his intention. You may not like the way he chose to express himself, but he had a statement to make, and he made it.

“I want this exchange of ideas to take place. If I can provoke that with my pictures, I would come back and do it again,” Normandi said.

And I hope you have the opportunity to do it again, Mr. Normandi. That, after all, is what this is all about.

The word TOLERANCE gets thrown around a lot in situations like this. But TOLERANCE is a two-way street. It's about living together with all our differences. It's about respecting the fact that we are different. It is not about catering to the displeasure of any one group at the expense of everyone else.

I would have liked to view Mr. Normandi's exhibit in person. I saw some of the pieces online, and I believe that seeing them in person would have only made me think more deeply about the oppression some women face because they don't live in a country with our freedoms.

Freedoms that include being able to go see a provocative display of art such as Mr. Normandi's. I'd like to keep those freedoms. I'd like that very much. And I don't have one iota of sympathy or understanding for anyone who would selfishly and foolishly work to erode those freedoms.


Check out John's coverage of this story over at Marathon Pundit.

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