Men in Iran wear hijab in support of women’s struggle against ‘modesty laws’

Published August 1st, 2016 - 04:00 GMT
Men show solidarity with women online. (Twitter)
Men show solidarity with women online. (Twitter)

Dozens of Iranian men have posted pictures of themselves in hijabs to social media in recent days, after a new protest movement urged the action in protest of the strict modesty laws the country imposes on women.

The New York-based Iranian social activist and journalist Masih Alinejad kick-started the anti-hijab movement My Stealthy Freedom when she posted a picture of herself driving without a headscarf in 2014.

She encouraged other women to post photos of themselves without their hijabs and received so many photos that she started a Facebook page, which has since garnered over one million likes.

Alinejad is an outspoken critic of the Iranian regime, but according to the page's description, the initiative is not connected to any political group.

Lately, men have been joining in the protest using the hashtag #‎meninhijab‬.

Under Islamic law, in force in Iran since the 1979 revolution, women in public must wear a loose scarf, known as a hijab, that covers their heads and necks and conceals their hair. The law also applies to foreigners visiting Iran.

The law is enforced by a modesty police, and women in Iran can face up to 70 lashes for being seen in public wearing insufficiently modest clothing. They can also be sent to prison for two months.

Though the punishments are more laxly enforced now than in the decades immediately after the Islamic Revolution, modesty police often crack down before the summer months. Cafes and barbershops deemed immoral are also shut down.

In February, an app was launched to help women avoid the modesty police.

Last October, Iranian actress Sadaf Taherian stirred up controversy when she posted images of herself on social media without the head covering.

In 2015, the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy gave Alinejad its women's rights award for "giving a voice to the voiceless and stirring the conscience of humanity to support the struggle of Iranian women for basic human rights, freedom and equality."

 


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