Iranian Women Fight Religious Crackdown By Publicly Removing Hijab

Tensions are rising in Iran as activists respond to the increasingly harsher implementation of hijab compliance. Brave and defiant women are posting videos of themselves not wearing hijab.

One woman posted a video of herself burning a hijab.

Last week, July 6, Iran’s conservative president Ebrahim Raisi ordered government agencies to implement hijab laws. During a meeting with government officials, Raisi declared that non-compliance with the hijab is an “organized promotion of [moral] corruption in Islamic society.”

Raisi accused the “enemies of Iran and Islam” of using satellite TV and social media networks to target “society’s cultural backbone and foundations of its religious values.”

Raisi also alluded to the United States, accusing the western power of organizing non-compliance with the hijab.

Raisi’s announcement came after the draconian Islamic dress code has been enforced more ruthlessly in the past couple of months. Street patrols have been harassing and even arresting women who are not wearing hijab “correctly” in public.

Esmail Rahmani, a deputy prosecutor in the city of Mashhad, echoed Raisi’s demand for government agencies to play a role in enforcing the hijab. Rahmani ordered a ban on women not wearing proper hijab from public transport.

In Shiraz, southern Iran, “morality police” shut down cafes and other public gatherings to enforce hijab rules. These morality police patrol with a van that serves as mobile detention facilities for women caught not wearing hijab in public.

Iran also declared July 12 as Hijab and Chastity Day, planning rallies and public events to promote the “Islamic notion of the hijab for women.”

But the pushbacks are strong, both from citizens and activists. Sima, an art student from Seman, said she told police to “arrest the thieves and embezzlers” instead. “The problems of this country are not caused by my hijab,” she declared defiantly.

She was eventually forced into a police car and fined $166.

Women’s rights activists called the hijab enforcement a “violation of their human rights.”

In response to Iran’s Hijab and Chastity Day, activists organized the “NO2Hijab” campaign. The hashtag No2Hijab is now trending in Twitter.

Masih Alinejad, an Iranian-American journalist and activist, tweeted a video of women not wearing hijab in public. In the tweet, Alinejad called the NO2Hijab campaign the Women Revolution.

The video has now been viewed more than two million times.

More than a hundred activists signed a joint statement declaring the “damage done to society by 43 years of enforced veiling in Iran.” Prominent journalists and actresses also signed the statement.

“The National Day of Hijab and Chastity is only an excuse to target women and launch a new wave of repression against Iranian people and in particular women,” the statement said.

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