Protests engulf Iran since the death of a 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini on 16th September, in police custody. She was arrested by morality police for not wearing a hijab. It has been 10 days now and over 75 have been killed as a result of these protests, according to media reports.
Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman from the north-western city of Saqez, was arrested for allegedly breaking Iran’s strict rules and wearing the hijab, the Islamic head covering for women. She, along with her family were visiting the capital city Tehran and morality police arrested her for violating the law of not wearing a hijab.
The nationwide protests are led mainly by women demanding to end the mandatory hijab law. The protest has spread to at least 31 provinces, even as police arrest and kill demonstrators in a violent crackdown.
Videos showing women burning their headscarves and crowds chanting “death to the dictator” amid burning cars are flooding social media, despite the Iranian government’s intermittent shutdown of the country’s Internet.
History of Hijab – Mandatory law in Iran:
During the rule of Reza Shal Pahlavi, the veil was banned in 1936 encouraging Iranians to adopt western dress and participation of women in society in an effort to modernize the country.
However, this law was enforced with a heavy hand, which was met with much discontentment among conservatives.
However, after the deposition of Reza Shah in 1941, many conservatives wanted to make the hijab mandatory, but they failed. The next ruler Mohammad Reza Shah the last Shah of the imperial state of Iran who ruled from 1941-1979, did not make unveiling compulsory. The women were able to wear what they wish.
However, wearing a hijab became a determining factor in women’s social status. Those who wore hijab were considered conservative and backward while those who did not were considered elite and modern. During his rule, most women in Tehran did not wear the hijab while women in the countryside, small towns, and villages continued to wear it. Wearing a hijab has become mostly political.
It was in 1979, after the Islamic Revolution, a law was passed making hijab mandatory by Sharia.
Source: BBC.com, Wikipedia, Hindustan times
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