murdered because of a stray lock of hair – violent protests and backlash in Iran

Iranian women are burning their headscarves and cutting their hair; mass protests are in progress.

Last week, a 22-year old woman was travelling with her family from Iran’s western province of Kurdistan to the capital, Tehran, to visit relatives. Her name was Mahsa Amini. Because of a loose-fitting hijab and a stray lock of hair, Mahsa was arrested in the street by Tehran’s “morality police” and placed in a police van. There, she was beaten into a coma. After spending three days in a coma, she died in hospital last Friday. Tehran’s police chief said her death was “unfortunate”. Riots and protest marches are occurring all over the country.

Days earlier, Iran’s hardline president had ordered a crackdown on women’s rights and called for stricter enforcement of the country’s mandatory dress code, which requires all women to wear the hijab head-covering and a full-length black cloak called a chador.

After “National Hijab and Chastity Day” was declared on July 12, women have been arrested across the country. One of them was a writer and artist, reportedly beaten and tortured in custody before making a forced apology on television. (see link below)

‘National Hijab and Chastity Day’ marks the country’s strict rules over women and their bodies. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, it is mandatory for women and girls above the age of nine to wear the hijab in public.

Above the age of nine? Does this mean that Iranian clerics consider ten-year-old girls to be sexually arousing?

My interpretation? A despotic regime of corrupt wanking mullahs who force its female populace to cover their hair and bodies so as not to excite the male populace. The country is governed by sex-crazed, misogynistic, religious zealots.

And this brings me to another topic which I will address in my next blog post: Islamic revivalism (or Islamic awakening) in the West – an active political movement – yes, political – that is occurring before our very eyes and altering the landscape of Western democratic countries. France has understood this for decades – other countries, like my native country, Canada, has not.

Called upon to “restore Islam to ascendancy in a world that has turned away from God”, the movement seeks to renew commitment to the fundamental principles of Islam and the reconstruction of society in accordance with the Quran and traditions of the Islamic prophet, Mohammed.

An obvious sign of the re-Islamisation of many Muslims is the rise of the hijab in the public space. Among immigrants in non-Muslim countries (and the children of those immigrants), it includes a feeling of a “growing universalistic Islamic identity”, otherwise known as trans-national Islam.

YOU WOULD THINK that in solidarity with their oppressed sisters in Iran, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, Muslim women in the West, happy to be free from theocratic regimes and religious zealots, would choose not to don the hijab. That’s not what’s happening. To the contrary.

5 thoughts on “murdered because of a stray lock of hair – violent protests and backlash in Iran

  1. It’s a terrible conundrum. Women should have the right to wear a hijab but as a westerner and humanist, I see it as another way in which Islamic women are oppressed. I know many would disagree. Thanks for blogging about it.

  2. People in the West need to wake up and smell the coffee. I look forward to reading your next post. Mainstream media won’t touch this subject.

    • The French smelled the coffee (or, rather, espresso) decades ago. But they were heavily criticized by the outside world for having implemented certain measures: e.g. as far back as 2010, President Sarkozy banned the full Islamic veil, declaring that they subjugate women. “The burqa/niqab has no place in France,” he said. Later, other countries followed his example.
      What do I say to that? Thank you, Prez Sarkozy, for having the backbone to implement such a law when no other Western leader did.

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