The only problem that Qatar has with ancient history is that its pre-Islamic art falls to comply with Islamic sensibilities. An exhibit has been touring the world on the beauty and grace of “The Olympics — Past and Present.” Two ancient statues showed this expression in artistic form but the Islamic nation decided to obscure the statues behind a black screen because their naked bodies were considered indecent under Islamic values.
Maria Vlazaki, the Greek Culture Ministry’s director-general of antiquities and cultural heritage, went to Qatar to see the exhibit (note, by the way, to Greece: it might not be necessary to send delegations to see exhibits of Greek art when the country cannot afford basic services). They found the statues behind a type of museum burka.
One of these statues is dated to 520 B.C. and is a long-haired kouros and the other (a Roman-era) statue depicts a young athlete with short curls. The museum explained that there were “objections from above” to the statues as well as several small bronze nudes. That is not a reference to divine intervention but Qatari leadership which apparently found the statues too sexually enticing and corrupting for unrestricted viewing. Who needs the Internet when you have miniature 500 B.C. bronze nudes?
A poll last year found that 60 percent of Arabs support the censorship of art to bar “inappropriate” images and enforce Islamic standards.