Dem lawmaker's student painting of Statue of Liberty in hijab draws protests

Dem lawmaker's student painting of Statue of Liberty in hijab draws protests
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An activist group that protests undocumented immigrants is demanding a California lawmaker remove a student painting from his office that depicts the Statue of Liberty as a Muslim.

We the People Rising, a group based out of Claremont, Calif., is protesting the painting hanging in Rep. Lou Correa’s (D-Calif.) district office, The Orange County Register reported. The art depicts the Statue of Liberty as wearing a Muslim hijab, which the group claims violates the separation of church and state.

“It’s a bad example for our congressman,” Mike McGertrick, an activist with We the People Rising, told the Register. “He shouldn’t have anything religious in his office. … I would like to see our Congress people be right-down-the-line patriotic.”

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Correa told the Register that he had run the art past the Office of the Legislative Counsel and no legal issues exist with displaying the art. He said he would not remove the art, which is hanging as part of a contest among local student artists.

“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 said. “That’s what it says to me.”

We the People Rising said that if the painting isn’t removed they will hold a protest outside Correa’s office on Sept. 11. The group’s executive director said the issue isn’t with the art’s depiction specifically of a Muslim, but the inclusion of religion of any kind being shown in a lawmaker's office.

Former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin shared a story from the Young Conservatives about the art early Monday morning, with the headline “‘Statue of Liberty’ Painting Found In Congressman's Office, Then America Spots Something Unusual.” 

This new artwork controversy comes after Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) hung a painting depicting police officers as pigs in the Capitol building earlier this year. The art was later permanently removed.