Seems legit

Jilbab ArtIt’s from a ‘peasant art competition’ held in Xinjiang on the theme of why the niqab sucks.

No, seriously.

Actually, within a central Asian context its less weird than it sounds. Governments throughout the ‘Stans are trying everything short of dealing with their citizens’ economic grievances to persuade them to turn away from radical Islam. This is about par for the course.

But here’s the thing. Check out the artists’ work. Go on. Follow the link. Far be it from me to introduce a note of cynicism into the proceedings, but you don’t have to be a Berenson to suspect that at most two or three individuals were involved in this thing…

Which probably means that some mid-level civil servant got a grant to organise a secularism outreach initiative, spent the money on booze and hookers, and got his kids to do a dozen niqab pictures – exactly the sort of half-arsed, corrupt behaviour that’s been behind the shift to radical Islam from the beginning.

Still, I did learn that the Chinese for niqab is “jilibafufu”, so there’s that. Now to work it into my conversation…

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