This is a new one to me: Irish teenagers are sporting tattoos with Koranic verses in Arabic, ignorant of what they say.
Our Irish correspondent LS reports:
I was down the town in Bray this afternoon to do some banking and to watch a free drumming workshop for children at the civic centre plaza. On the way to Halifax Bank, I noticed that the teenage girl walking beside me had a tattoo of what appeared to be Arabic writing running up the back of her arm from elbow to shoulder (shades of Submission). She had other tattoos and some piercings on her face, but she looked like a typical middle class Bray teen ( I suppose that in itself says something about Ireland, or at least the greater Dublin area). As we walked a distance together along the footpath, I struck up a conversation with her and asked after this particular tattoo (the others were unremarkable.).
She said this one was a verse from the Bible. I asked if it mightn’t be from the Koran, since it appeared to be in Arabic. She said that yes, in fact, she had been told it was Arabic writing, but she did not seem to recognize the word “Koran” or its difference from the Bible. I didn’t attempt to discuss the difference. I asked if she could tell me what it said. She said she couldn’t (she didn’t remember, not that I was not allowed to know). She said it was about “love.”
I asked if she had a Muslim boyfriend. She said she didn’t. She was not at all offended that I asked. It was just a factual exchange.
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I mentioned this exchange to an Irish friend whom I met at the drumming event. She told me that the Arabic language tattoos were exceptionally popular at the moment. And we both wondered why anyone would want something written in a language they didn’t know (by someone who also did not know the language) to be permanently affixed to one’s body. I suppose this is like girls wearing the Kaffiyeh or babies wearing Che T-shirts. But you can take off the clothing.
I suppose it would be over-reacting or superstitious to be all that concerned about girls wearing tattoos in languages they cannot read that could say anything at all. For all she knows it says “Pog Mo Thon.” (“Kiss my arse” in Irish.)
However, it reminded me of reporter Steve Centani and his cameraman agreeing to “convert” to Islam in order to keep their heads attached to their bodies. Is Steve still reporting at all? Has this forced conversion changed him, and in what way? I believe he was a Fox News reporter, and we get Fox News here via Sky cable, but I haven’t noticed him lately. However, I rarely watch TV at all anymore.
I can’t help but wonder what verse it was on the young lady’s arm. Maybe an apes-and-pigs special? Or perhaps “slay ye the idolaters wheresoever ye find them”…
The whole affair brings to mind William Butler Yeats, from “To Ireland in the Coming Times”:
For the elemental creatures go
About my table to and fro,
That hurry from unmeasured mind
To rant and rage in flood and wind;
Yet he who treads in measured ways
May surely barter gaze for gaze.
Man ever journeys on with them
After the red-rose-bordered hem.
Ah, faeries, dancing under the moon,
A Druid land, a Druid tune!
Alas, the coming times are here, and Ireland is a Druid land no longer. Rather a Sunni land, and the only elemental creatures in sight are the djinns.