"When in Rome, do as the Romans do" evidently does not apply to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. During his visit to Rome this week, Rouhani was spared an encounter with ancient nude Roman statues. Nude statues at Rome's Capitoline Museums, including a centuries-old Venus, were covered up in deference to Rouhani's Islamic faith, as the Iranian president proceeded to meet with Italian government officials and sign 17 agreements with Italy. This was but the latest exercise in ongoing European submission to Muslim cultural norms in the name of multiculturalism.
Responding to backlash, Italian government officials tried to cover up whom had actually decided on the statues' covering. Italy's culture minister even took it upon himself – belatedly – to criticize the decision as "incomprehensible." For his part, Rouhani denied that his government had requested such statuary modesty, but he was appreciative of the gesture nevertheless. "I thank you for this," he said when asked about the temporary accommodation.
Submission to Iran's Islamic cultural norms not only does a disservice to Italy's own rich history and culture. It sends the wrong signal to Iranian citizens living in Iran, who are trying to seek more individual freedoms.