The use of what some are claiming is a hijab, a head scarf worn by Muslim women, as part of a carnival costume in Antigua has triggered an intense debate on social media.
The debate over the weekend came after popular mas’ band Insane Carnival released photographs of the costumes for a section of its 2017 Carnival troupe.
According to Antigua Observer, several persons communicated their disapproval with what appeared to be a representation of the hijab in Insane’s “Persia” costumes while others on Facebook and Twitter lamented the controversy that the costume would cause to the country.
Insane Carnival released a statement on Facebook saying that the head scarf was not intended to portray Islamic symbols but elements of Persian culture.
“The costume is depicting elements of the Persian people who at first were nomads of the desert, nomads living under those conditions would often cover their heads and much of their face to protect them from the elements,” the statement said.
It also said that while conducting research, no correlation between the head covering and religion was found.
However, former director of Culture Heather Doram was quoted by Antigua Observer as saying that designers must be sensitive when depicting the culture of others.
“I think an artist should be sensitive. We should be sensitive about what you’re using, what you’re wearing, if you’re taking it from somebody else’s culture. I don’t know about being controversial when you’re using someone’s religion, but if they said that’s not what it is, I don’t see the problem,” Doram said in an OBSERVER media interview.