Corey Flintoff. Farah al-Jaberi holds her protest sign outside the Green Zone checkpoint that leads to Iraq's parliament. Her sign says, "From the American to the [female] Parliament employee — either no clothes, or the American prisons. This is the way Farah al-Jaberi says women are seen by an electronic security scanner at one of the checkpoints entering Baghdad's Green Zone — essentially naked, even when they are fully covered in conservative Muslim attire. A conservatively dressed Iraqi matron holding a provocative sign and a picture of a naked woman stood against the dusty concrete blast wall outside the main checkpoint where Iraqi workers enter and leave Baghdad's Green Zone. It's almost impossible for us, as Americans, to grasp just how shocking this was. First, you have to consider that for Farah al-Jaberi, an observant Muslim woman, conservative attire doesn't mean a tailored pantsuit; it means full hijab: a headscarf that conceals her hair and throat, topped by a head-to-foot abaya, a black drapery that's designed to obscure any hint of a womanly shape underneath.
To those on the periphery of the culture, the idea of a group of Arab women allowing themselves to be photographed nude, in a hammam, or communal bath, in the Middle East seems unlikely. The stereotypical image of Arab women assumes they are devoutly practicing Muslims, wearing hijabs and long skirts and conducting themselves with religious modesty, exposing their bodies exclusively to their husbands, and perhaps to female relatives or friends behind the closed doors of a hammam. Would they allow themselves to be captured in such an environment by a boundary-pushing year-old American artist, for a gallery show?
Exposing the intimate parts of the body is unlawful in Islam as the Quran instructs the covering of genitals, and for adult females the breasts. Exposing them is regarded as sin. Precisely which body parts must be covered varies between different schools of Islamic thought. The Quran admonishes Muslim women to dress modestly and cover their breasts and genitals. None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness. I am the L ORD .
Life is too short. A forum for ex-mormons and others who have been affected by mormonism to share news, commentary, and comedy about the Mormon church. Then you complain when the polish of being married to a doctor wears off and you grow callused to the money and big house.