A fiery debate erupted on social media over the weekend, after popular mas’ band Insane Carnival released photographs of the costumes for a section of its 2017 Carnival troupe.
Several users communicated their disapproval with what appeared to be a representation of a hijab — a head scarf worn by Muslim women — in Insane’s “Persia” costumes.
One user on Twitter said, “It’s something of religious and cultural significance. How can you put it on a carnival costume?”
Other users on Facebook and Twitter lamented the controversy that the costume would cause to the country.
A user from Barbados tweeted “It’s already started … It making rounds across UK Twitter.”
The reaction from the public caused Insane Carnival to release a statement yesterday, on Facebook, in justification of the costume selection.
According to Insane Carnival, 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.”
They also said that while conducting their research, they found no correlation between the head covering and religion.
“The Persians would later build a great dynasty and the tradition of wearing a head scarf remained. The Persians, during that era, practiced the religion Zoroastrianism and our research found no association of the head scarf to their religion.”
However, former director of Culture Heather Doram warned 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.
When she was asked how practical the wearing of a head scarf would be on the road, Doram said that they are worn across the region.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)