Sunday , 21 April 2024

As Heat Rises in Iran, Govt Tightens Hijab Law Enforcement

Iranwire – Every spring, as temperatures rise, the Islamic Republic tightens its repressive laws on women’s attire. 

However, during Nowruz of 2024, religious and political figures used the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as a pretext to demand harsher measures against women and girls not wearing the mandatory hijab.

Citing pronouncements by Friday prayer leaders in various cities, authorities targeted women who opted for non-mandatory clothing. 

In Shiraz, the city’s Friday prayer leader criticized the attire of female tourists, claiming it undermined the city’s religious atmosphere.

Lotfollah Dejakam, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s representative in Fars province, expressed his disapproval of women’s clothing at tourist attractions like the Nasir al-Molk Mosque. 

He stated his frustration with government officials and threatened to personally manage the mosques if the situation didn’t improve. 

He further condemned some tourist resorts as “centers of debauchery.”

Fars province is a popular tourist destination during Nowruz. For years, the Islamic Republic has attempted to promote the city’s religious aspect for tourism purposes, downplaying its historical and cultural significance.

The publication of photos showing women without mandatory hijabs in historical mosques angered Dejakam.

Nasser Makarem Shirazi, a prominent radical Shia cleric, was another religious figure advocating for stricter enforcement against women choosing not to wear the hijab during Nowruz. 

He demanded action from the Qom police chief, alleging that “enemies” were attempting to tarnish Qom’s image by “infecting its youth with drugs and moral corruption.”

Alireza Arafi, Qom’s Friday prayer leader, criticized the growing trend of women defying mandatory hijab. 

He declared this form of non-hijab “abnormal and unconventional.”

Historically, Qom and Mashhad have been presented as the Islamic Republic’s religious centers.

Religious authorities have strived to control the image projected by these cities, excluding those who oppose the government’s policies. 

However, following the nationwide protests of 2022 and the death of Mahsa Amini in custody, women’s civil resistance has spread across Iran, including Mashhad and Qom, causing concern among religious leaders.

The uncertainty surrounding the “chastity and hijab bill” in recent months has also fueled criticism from figures like Mashhad’s Friday prayer leader, Ahmad Alamolhoda,

Ebrahim Raisi’s father-in-law even urged “religious people” who support compulsory hijab to confront citizens who oppose it.

Ahmad Khatami, a member of the Guardian Council and Tehran Friday prayer leader, also called on authorities to address the hijab situation. 

Meanwhile, a video surfaced on social media showing a clash between citizens and an official in Isfahan who claimed to have been beaten for “giving a hijab warning.”

Despite the Islamic Republic’s decades-long effort to enforce compulsory hijab, women have consistently resisted it. 

Since the summer of 2022, this resistance has become more public and widespread. 

The government, in response, has intensified its efforts to suppress women who oppose mandatory hijab.

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