Iran and the dress code of women: Liberty, the shadow of Saudi Arabia, and Islamic Sharia law

Iran and the dress code of women: Liberty, the shadow of Saudi Arabia, and Islamic Sharia law

Sawako Utsumi and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The government of Iran and leading Shia Muslim clerics should be focused on poverty, a major drug problem that will soon reach 3 million citizens, limited opportunities for many working-class Iranians, squandering resources on foreign ventures, and other important issues. Instead, the state apparatus of Iran and Shia clerics – just like Saudi Arabia under a different Muslim sect – are enforcing Islamic Sharia law and certain Hadiths in order to crush a basic female freedom. This freedom is the right to decide how to dress and of course, other areas naturally flow from this basic principle including religious freedom.

Ironically, the nation of Saudi Arabia, an ally of democratic Western nations despite being anti-Christian and anti-non-Muslim, is even more despotic than Iran when it comes to how females dress. Indeed, women in Iran have much more freedom than in Saudi Arabia in the realm of the economy and other areas. However, basic freedoms are still being denied to women in both Iran and Saudi Arabia even if the ruling elites in Riyadh are enforcing Islamic Sharia law to a more draconian degree.

In recent times, images show a small number of women who are brave enough to challenge the Islamic religious edicts of Iran. Hence, these brave women – often neglected by Western feminists – have bravely taken off their headscarves in front of the general public. They have done so despite the state apparatus and the hypocrisy of laws that favor males over females in many areas of public life.

CNN reports, The protests have spread since Vida Mohaved, a woman who was arrested in December by Iranian authorities after removing her headscarf during a wave of anti-regime protests, was freed on Sunday.” 

Mohamad Jafar Montazeri, the Attorney General of Iran, said, “These are childish acts provoked from abroad… We consider this a tiny issue in a country with 80 million citizens, where most citizens observe the hijab law. The people won’t let [protesters] fulfill the enemy’s goal… If someone walks in the street without a hijab, she has committed a crime and should be prosecuted. But enlightening them [about hijab laws] is our first priority, before we resort to prosecution.”

Overall, women in Iran and Saudi Arabia – and other nations governed by Islamic Sharia law – face prison and being arrested for merely wanting to dress freely. This intolerable situation needs to be challenged internationally by leading politicians. Equally, the feminist movement should support the brave women of Iran – and other nations where females suffer at the hands of institutional discrimination based on Islamic Sharia law – because “feminism at home” is a betrayal.

Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group

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