“When in Rome, do as the Romans do” evidently does not apply to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. During his visit to Rome this week, Rouhani was spared an encounter with ancient nude Roman statues. Nude statues at Rome's Capitoline Museums, including a centuries-old Venus, were covered up in deference to Rouhani’s Islamic faith, as the Iranian president proceeded to meet with Italian government officials and sign 17 agreements with Italy. This was but the latest exercise in ongoing European submission to Muslim cultural norms in the name of multiculturalism.
Responding to backlash, Italian government officials tried to cover up whom had actually decided on the statues’ covering. Italy's culture minister even took it upon himself – belatedly – to criticize the decision as "incomprehensible." For his part, Rouhani denied that his government had requested such statuary modesty, but he was appreciative of the gesture nevertheless. “I thank you for this," he said when asked about the temporary accommodation.
Submission to Iran’s Islamic cultural norms not only does a disservice to Italy’s own rich history and culture. It sends the wrong signal to Iranian citizens living in Iran, who are trying to seek more individual freedoms.
An Iranian women’s group, My Stealthy Freedom, posted a scathing criticism of the statue covering in a Facebook page addressed to Italian news outlets and female politicians:
“As you know, your country has just censored some of your highly celebrated artwork in a bid to welcome the delegation from the Islamic Republic of Iran. This censorship reminds us the way that the Iranian regime has been forcing millions of women in Iran to cover up. The politicians of our country, regardless of whether a woman is Muslim or not, force women in Iran to cover up and their justification is, ‘You, as a woman, should be shrouded in front of my eyes in order not to provoke me’. This way of thinking is completely unacceptable.”
“Italy, for the sake of pleasing the Islamic Republic, has not hesitated to conceal some of the masterpieces of its own history, which gives the impression that for them respecting the requirements of the Islamic Republic and its unpopular laws take precedence over their own history and cultural heritage. One has to bear in mind that these same laws are being challenged by millions of Iranian women who have been risking all kinds of dangers in Iran to be themselves.”
The damage to pride in Western values from Rouhani's Italy visit was not limited to the temporary covering of ancient Roman masterpieces. Pope Francis met with President Rouhani for about 40 minutes at the Vatican, during which time, according to the Vatican Press Office, “common spiritual values emerged.” The pope is apparently willing to overlook the Iranian regime’s persecution of religious minorities, including Catholics, in Iran. And the pope actually agrees with the sharia law “spiritual value” that places criticism of religions outside the bounds of free expression. He made this clear during a meeting early last year with Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi at the Vatican, which followed the jihadist killings of staff members of the French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Rouhani’s visit to Rome is but just one example of one-way multiculturalism being practiced in the West. Signs of submission to Islamic values and cultural norms are appearing all over Europe.
Sweden, for example, has become “a place to Islamize," as the Gladstone Institute put it. Sweden has allowed itself to transform from a peaceful Scandinavian society to one weighed down by an Islamic culture brought to Sweden by waves of welfare-seeking Muslim migrants. These migrants are not willing to assimilate.
Despite the alarming rise of a rape culture fueled by some of these immigrants, which the politically correct press in Sweden has been too afraid to report, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström expressed last year his "utmost respect for Islam as a world religion and for its contribution to our joint civilization."
During a seminar on Islamophobia in 2014, a Swedish Green Party MP, Mehmet Kaplan, compared favorably young Muslims heading to Syria to become jihadists to Swedish freedom fighters who joined the Finns during World War II.
After finally waking up to the dangerous conditions that its liberal immigration policies have created, Sweden is now trying to restrict the flow of new refugees entering the country. Swedish Prime Minister Kjell Stefan Löfven described the new restrictive measures as only temporary. “We need respite,” Löfven said.
Swedes should not become too comfortable, however, if they use the Internet to criticize the country’s immigration policies or classes of migrants. Under a law passed in 2014, they can be arrested and charged with criminal libel. Back in 2002, a law was passed that criminalized “expressing disrespect against groups of people with reference to race, color, national origin, ethnicity, confession of faith or sexual origin.” Sharia law is alive and well in Sweden.
Germany has been moving in the same direction. Migrants from the Middle East and North Africa have been involved in sexual assaults against women, as dramatized in the New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne, Germany. Attacks occurred in other German cities as well. Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker not only insisted on political correctness in describing the attackers. She proposed a “code of conduct” for women and young girls to avoid becoming too tempting a target for the assailants.
And there are now no-go zones in Cologne. “Especially for women it must be assumed that a high security risk is here in the evening and night hours," a member of the Cologne City Council wrote in a letter to the people of Cologne. “At New Year’s Eve there was a legal vacuum and a no-go area for women. With the climax of the Carnival season it is unfortunately expected to be a similar situation.”
Just as in Muslim majority countries, women are now being instructed in Western European countries to be careful how they comport themselves lest they drive men from distant lands, especially Muslim lands, crazy with lust. Some countries such as Norway are trying to provide courses to newly arrived immigrants on how women should be treated in the West. But even here political correctness prevails. As reported by the New York Times last December, in describing the teaching materials of one company contracted by the Norwegian government to run asylum centers:
“Hero Norge’s teaching material studiously avoids casting migrants in a bad light and instead presents a fictional character called Arne, a native Norwegian, as a model of predatory behavior. The main immigrant character, a 27-year-old called Hassan, is, by contrast, introduced as a ‘good man’ who is ‘honest and well liked.’”
The Muslim immigrant is the noble, self-controlled guy. It’s the native Norwegian who cannot be trusted – a role reversal that sadly fits nicely with the pre-existing stereotype that some Muslim migrants have of Westerners.
Muslim intolerance of Christian symbols appearing where they live in Europe is also becoming a problem. For example, a Muslim mob threatened a group of Christian activists holding crosses as they walked through a street in an area of an English town where Muslims choose to live separate lives and where some have in the past defaced billboards deemed too revealing, an evangelical church and non-Muslim homes. “Muslims will take over! Watch!” shouted members of the Muslim mob to the Christian marchers.
Muslim non-assimilation and religious intolerance are also a problem in France, in which there are suburbs of Paris where sharia law effectively rules. And so on throughout other parts of Western Europe.
The United States is not immune from the influence of sharia law, especially as the Obama administration has led the way in purging any criticism of Islam from federal law enforcement materials and has welcomed Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated officials to the White House. After all, it was President Obama himself who declared in his 2012 UN General Assembly speech: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” Obama was preaching sharia law.
Returning to the cover-up of Italy’s prize works of art in deference to Iran’s Muslim president, we see a perfect example of one-way multiculturalism that leads to submission to Islamic values and cultural norms. Sadly, Pope Francis, some European leaders and President Obama are making it easier for this downfall to happen.