The Left is Cannibalizing: Muslim Vancouver Pride Float Protesting Sharia law Gets Banned for Being Islamophobic
Shawn Shirazi is angry about cultural relativism and the growing unwillingness of people here to criticize radical Islam for fear of being labelled racist or Islamophobic.
Born in Iran, Shirazi immigrated to Vancouver where he became a founding member of Cirque de So Gay, an activist group of gay and transgender Middle Eastern men. For several years, the group marched in the Pride Parade and even won an award for their originality. But this year, its application was rejected as “culturally insensitive.”
The rejection is a microcosm of what Shirazi calls “hypocrisy” when it comes to global human rights, but what others argue is showing respect for other cultures and religious traditions.
Its application described it as “casting off the shroud of oppression to unveil the Persian Princess beneath … The Islamic attire is more than just a piece of black fabric. It’s a tool used by governments to impose absolute control and authority over their citizens and even tourists.”
The intent was to encourage dialogue about oppression and individual freedom, “so people can express themselves as they choose, without threat of being flogged, stoned or beheaded.”
It was all too much for the parade organizers.
Vancouver Pride Society’s co-executive director Andrea Arnot said in an interview that organizers thought Cirque de So Gay made light of a nuanced issue.
“Many women choose to wear burkas. It’s part of their identity, their religion and their culture,” she said. “Of course, there are places where it’s enforced.”
Arnot says organizers found its proposal “quite shocking.”
“When I asked other people who are from that cultural or religious background, they said it was offensive,” she said. “I definitely wanted to be sensitive to what is happening in our communities right now.”
Yet, what Cirque de So Gay proposed was exactly what it did at the 2011 Vancouver Pride Parade — dancers threw off their body and face coverings to reveal very little underneath.