Photo shared on social media of activist Narges Hosseini protesting the mandatory hijab. Photo: CHRI
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iran’s compulsory hijab law has failed, according to the Iranian parliament’s research center. Its report comes after a number of Iranian women were arrested earlier this year for throwing off their headscarves in public places in protest.
The Iranian parliament’s research center published its research on the hijab on Sunday, claiming the policy of forcing young, educated women to wear the head covering had failed.
“Thirty-five percent of Iranian women consider the hijab a Sharia-based value and 55 percent of them support the hijab as a [voluntary] cultural tradition,” the center reported.
The Islamic Republic made the headscarf mandatory in government offices after the 1979 revolution. By 1983, it was compulsory for all women. Even female foreign diplomats have to wear the hijab when visiting Iran.
The Iranian government has arrested many women this year for protesting the country’s mandatory head covering law. In an act of individual protest, women have removed their headscarves and held them aloft like flags and posted footage of themselves on social media.
Iranian feminist Vida Movahed was the first to launch this kind of protest in Tehran in December 2017. Others soon imitated her act of rebellion.
“The research shows that educated women in big cities who watch foreign media outlets are the center of vulnerability to respecting hijab,” the center said.
Exiled Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad runs the Facebook campaign “My Stealthy Freedom” to which thousands of women have shared photos of themselves without the head covering. In an effort to undermine her cause, an Iranian TV crew recently visited Alinejad’s family home to show that her female relatives support the compulsory hijab.
Top Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, have condemned the protests for promoting a lifestyle that deviates from Islamic modesty.
Besides the compulsory hijab, Iranian women are also banned from attending sports matches.
Many Iranian female singers and actors fled Iran to continue their professions freely as the Iranian government also imposed Sharia laws on Iranian art and cinema.