Recently, a video was released in which an Iranian woman was violently attacked by female officers for failing to fully cover her head. Known as the “morality police,” the officers were shown pushing the woman to the ground and beating her as screams pierced the air. Additionally, the woman and the officers seemed to exchange harsh words as the situation escalated. At one point, as cited by Al Jazeera, an officer is recorded calling the young woman an “animal.”
The statement issued, however, also insinuates that the woman’s utilization of profanity against the officers prompted the incident. However, regardless of the verbal exchanges, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, the interior minister, described the incident as an “unconventional encounter of the morality police officer.” This video sparked public outcry in Iran and worldwide, as the video received thousands of views across various social media platforms.
Enforced dress codes are an issue not only in Iran, but around the world. Some Muslim-majority nations, such as Iran, force women to wear the hijab. Similarly, some Western nations force women to remove the hijab and niqab.
Iran’s law obliges women to cover their hair, and wear loose garments. However, there have been many forms of resistance and condemnation regarding how the country enforces such laws. This violent enforcement of the law is not new in Iran’s political climate. Numerous other videos have been posted that display similar incidents with the so-called morality police.
Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, stated “Grabbing people’s collars to promote virtue won’t work,” and “You cannot do it by being aggressive.” Despite this, the violent clashes have continued to occur. There have also been protests against Iran’s hijab regulations; one of the most notable being where women stood atop utility boxes and waved their hijabs on sticks.
The utilization of violence as a means of compliance needs to be reassessed in Iran. The issue may be less with the hijab itself, but rather with the utilization of brute force to enforce it. Some outlets however, such as Kayhan, a conservative Iranian newspaper, disregarded the video, claiming that foreign activists and dissenters were behind its promotion. In light of these violent encounters and protests, Iranian officials are calling for a “change in approach” concerning hijab regulation.
Enforced dress codes are an issue not only in Iran, but around the world. Some Muslim-majority nations, such as Iran, force women to wear the hijab. Similarly, some Western nations force women to remove the hijab and niqab. As a result, the enforcement of these regulations will continue to be an issue in the near future, and it may have more to do with society than religion itself.