A feminist movement has begun in Iran where dozens of woman have filmed themselves while standing in public and removing their hijab, a traditional head scarf that is required by Iranian law for woman to wear. The hijab is a veil of often decorative cloth that is designated to be worn often wrapped completely around the woman’s head and jaw line, exposing only here face. In some, less restrictive, middle eastern societies it is worn loosely as a fashionable head garment and pulled back to expose the woman’s hair. Several of these woman protesting have been arrested by the Iranian government though. They are now facing lengthy sentences but despite this have not expressed contrition for the acts.
Narges Hosseini was recently jailed for such a display, She is currently confronting a severe sentence of 10 years prison time and 74 lashes for openly committing a sinful act. She was arrested on January 29th and has been unable to produce the $135,000 required to make bail. Hosseini’s lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, stated, “Ms. Hosseini did not even appear in court to express remorse for her action. She said she objects to the forced hijab and considers it her legal right to express her protest,” and is, “not prepared to say she’s sorry.” The Iranian government accused her of encouraging prostitution and general immorality by violating sensible public behavior.
29 other women have been arrested for violating Iran’s law of required head covering for woman. The women arrested were all standing on Tehran’s Revolution Street while waving their hijab over head in defiance of the current regime and its archaic laws. Their acts of defiance have been captured by bystanders and widely distributed across social media in the past week. Some have declared they were motivated by Vida Movahed who held her hijab over her head during a mass anti-government protest in December.
According to a report from Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, around fifty percent of the Iranian populace is against the requirement of hijab for women. According to a poll taken 3 years ago, nearly the same amount of residents believe that the choice to wear hijab is a private matter and should be left as such. The president has responded to mass protests in the past by saying, “Yes people have criticisms about the economic situation and yes they’re right, but they are also criticizing the social situation, foreign relations, and the political situation. The people have a lot to say and we should listen to them.” His avocation of citizen protests remains to be seen if it will dissuade his position on the wearing of Hijab in Iran.