Risking arrest and prison, Iranian women cast off their hijabs in protest

Jon Howard
February 3, 2018

The Islamic dress code, established in the 1979 revolution, considers the Islamic veil or hijab, mandatory for any woman over age of 13 in Iran and says that they must cover themselves from head to foot while they reject any dress that embraces the figure.

Iranian activists protesting the compulsory hijab by taking it off in public have been joined by conservative Muslim women wearing the chador, a garment covering everything but the face.

Many Iranians, including men, changed their social media profile pictures to images inspired by her protest, and shared a hashtag that translates to "the girl of Enghelab Street", or "the girl of Revolution Street".

Iranian law has compelled women to wear a hijab since the 1979 revolution, but it has been a hard policy to enforce. This woman stood atop a utility box for 10 minutes before officers arrested her, the Guardian learned.

A prominent human rights lawyer told AFP on Tuesday that one of the detained women had her bail set at more than $100,000 (80,000 euros).

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The massive uprisings in Iran from earlier this year may be over, but women across the country are still protesting the state enforcement of the hijab.

"Her message is clear, girls and women are fed up with forced [hijab]", Ms Sotoudeh wrote on Facebook.

A Tehran resident, who requested anonymity, told Euronews that a lot of women are protesting the dress code imposed by Iranian government by taking their headscarves off.

The December demonstrations started as protests against soaring food prices before quickly turning political as widespread corruption, as well as Iran's costly interventions in Syria and Iraq, further incited public anger. Despite this, a growing number of women in Iran continue to defy the government's encroachment on policing women's bodies by getting creative with their hijab and of the law. One video posted on social media on Wednesday showed a mother at a busy traffic intersection in Tehran waving a white scarf and shouting out: "We want freedom, we want freedom of dress". Despite the fear of reprisals, millions of women in Iran defy the restrictions on a daily basis.

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