Mona Lisa dons niqab for Hungarian version of Houellebecq novel

GMT 20:31 2015 Tuesday ,14 April

Arab Today, arab today Mona Lisa dons niqab for Hungarian version of Houellebecq novel

Houellebecq novel
Budapest - AFP

The Mona Lisa dons a face veil on the cover of the upcoming Hungarian edition of French author Michel Houellebecq's novel "Soumission", which imagines a France under Islamic rule.

Hungarian publisher Magveto hopes the veiling of the woman in Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece will bring attention to "Soumission" ("Behodolas" in Hungarian) before its release on April 22.

"It's an important book that deserves more readers than just fans of contemporary French literature or of Houellebecq," Magveto's director, Krisztian Nyary, told AFP Tuesday.

The novel, whose German and Italian translations appeared earlier this year, imagines the leader of a fictitious Islamic party winning France's presidential election in 2022.

"Exploring how Europe reacts to the phenomenon of two extremist movements -- radical Islam and the far-right -- is one of the most important issues facing us today," says Nyary.

The cover hints at how hysterical Europe has become about its fears of Islam, the publisher said.

"It is a mistake to read it as a far-right or Islamophobic message," he added.

EU member Hungary has a tiny Muslim community of less than 10,000 members in a population of almost 10 million.

The far-right Jobbik party, which is widely seen as anti-Semitic, has cultivated close links with Turkey and Iran.

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