(Twitter/@MaajidNawaz)

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

"It’s about our identity, our dignity, and our freedom of choice," said one activist


Rachel Leah
January 30, 2018 4:24PM (UTC)

As The Star reports, some women in Iran have begun taking off their hijabs in public and waving them on a stick in protest of their unequal treatment by the nation's religiously conservative government, a move that could result in arrest, detainment or even imprisonment. The protests in Tehran Monday were against the mandatory hijab laws that have been in place since the 1979 revolution that ushered in the current government.

According to writer Mona Eltahawy, "a total of 6 women made the same symbolic gesture: taking off their head scarves in public & waving them on a stick, emulating a young woman who climbed on the same sort of utility box on Dec.27 & was subsequently arrested," she said on Twitter Tuesday.

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The Star reported that at least one woman was arrested during yesterday's protests, according to a shopkeeper who witnessed the arrest. This woman stood atop a utility box for 10 minutes before officers arrested her, the Guardian learned.

"Forced hijab is the most visible symbol of oppression against women in Iran, that’s why fighting for freedom to wear or not to wear hijab is the first step towards full equality," Iranian activist Masih Alinejad told the Guardian on Monday. "These women are not protesting against a piece of cloth, it’s about our identity, our dignity, and our freedom of choice. Our body, our choice."

While the protests are still small in number, Nasrin Sotoudeh, a lawyer and human rights activist, believes it's just the beginning. "My guess is that more of these protests will follow," she told The Star. "It’s obvious that some women want to decide for themselves what to wear."

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Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

MORE FROM Rachel Leah

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Hijabs Iran Islam Mandatory Hijab Laws News Politics Protests Religion Women In Iran

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