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The Shoes Don’t Fit

Reader Mustafa S. Hassan says an FP illustration is offensive to Islam.

Carla Power’s piece on Islamic finance, "Faith in the Market" (January/February 2009) was interesting, but even more interesting was the accompanying illustration. The opening image depicted individuals praying on line graphs. Although this is the artist’s interpretation of the article, the placement of shoes at the heads of those praying is a completely insensitive and ignorant depiction.

Given the recent shoe-throwing incident involving former U.S. President George W. Bush, you would think by now that everyone, and needless to say Foreign Policy, would understand that in Muslim cultures, a shoe is a dirty and insulting thing. How FP would overlook the fact that it blatantly depicted Muslims praying between shoes, and in some cases prostrating on the sandals themselves, is beyond me.

FP always manages to publish good pieces that expose the reader to new perspectives and Power’s was no exception. However, with this illustration, the magazine displayed an unfortunate lack of knowledge about Muslim culture. Remember, if you insult your readers, your arguments will fall on deaf ears.

–Mustafa S. Hassan
Washington, D.C.

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