Southern California congressman under fire over ‘Liberty hijab’ artwork

A painting of the Statue of Liberty portrayed as a Muslim woman wearing a hijab hanging in the Santa Ana, California, district office of Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.), sparked controversy and calls to remove the painting, Fox News reports.

Conservative activist group We the People Rising, arguing the painting violates the separation of church and state, was among the first to object to the painting hanging in Rep. Correa’s office. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin joined the calls to remove the painting on Twitter.

In addition to a Muslim woman wearing a hijab as the Statue of Liberty, the woman depicted in the painting is not holding Lady Liberty’s torch high and aloft with her right hand. Rather, she’s clutching the torch with both hands, holding it to her left side.

The painting was a runner-up in the annual Congressional Art Competition showcasing the artistic talents of high school students.

Each member of Congress can choose a theme for the competition in their district. Correa chose as his district’s theme, “Faces of America.” According to the rules of the competition, “exhibits depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature are not allowed.” 

The painting hangs in prominent public space in the entrance room of first-term Congressman Correa’s office. Despite numerous attempts by constituents offended by the painting, Correa declined to remove the painting or move it to a less conspicuous area.

“You take it in the context of a lady, probably a Muslim American — with all that’s going on, she’s a proud American,” Correa told the Orange County Register.

We the People Rising has sent a complaint about the painting hanging in a government office to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The group is also tentatively planning to “hold a protest on Sept. 11, the day memorializing the Twin Tower terrorist attacks of 2001, came from The Remembrance Project, a group that bills itself as “A Voice for Victims Killed by Illegal Aliens.”

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