Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, died Friday, September 16 after being arrested by the notorious “morality police” in Tehran. According to reports, including from Amini’s family, Amini was severely beaten by the morality police with repeated blows to the head, both in the van and at the re-education center where she was taken. She was subsequently taken to the hospital, where she died three days later.
The Iranian government has promised to investigate, but they are already covering up.
Her death has sparked a wave of protests in Iran — specifically against the morality police, as well as the general social conditions and violations of women’s rights and human rights, and the unrest related to the political, economic, and cultural situation in Iran.
Muslim girl’s IRANIAN READERS SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS WITH US AMIDST THE PROTESTS AND Mahsa Amini’S DEATH
“You don’t know how far we have come to be here. Lots of ppl have been killed & I don’t know what can I do to help.” – @girlalmiighty
“Be our voice. People are dying, be our voice to the world.” – @paria_taherpour
“The condition is much more complicated. Please hear us out…Iranians need help and we have no national help…we need international help…we are in pain and there is no help to get free from government-killing people.” – @zahra.bhrnia
“Not only her, but every other girl is in danger.” – @huraarn
“Very angry! Hurt! We want the crazy criminals in the government to leave Iran asap.” – @rebekah_n888
“Devastated, yet liberated. We are on the streets fighting the police. 44 years of suppression is ending.” – @rahil.honarkar
“Women who don’t believe hijab is mandatory need to be respected too.” – @queenfareen
“Everything is bad here. Iran needs help, they are just killing everyone 💔.” – @bllckblood_
“Anxiety and panic attacks…you only imagine it could have been me instead of her.” – @_marjanakhavan
“It’s not only about Mahsa..it starts to be a movement. Plz help us. Hear our voice. People are being killed by the government and no one speaks. The situation is a real mess.” – @roya.zhm
“Devastated. But now change has to happen!! We will not back down.” – @masumehnozzari
“Please we need the world to help us. In Iran the police are killing people..this is not Islam. I’m an Iranian Muslim girl. Please be our voice. The government is killing more women and innocent kids.” – @zamani_k_a
These responses showcase the importance of supporting and standing in solidarity with Iranian women right now.
There have been longstanding objections to the so-called “morality police” in Iran, a police force that ostensibly enforces the wearing of religious attire, including the “proper” wearing of the hijab in Iran. They have been widely documented using violence, aggression, and force in their actions in public, supported by video, photo, and eyewitness testimony. The re-education centers were established in 2019, and they have been notorious for the abuse of women. There are few people in Iran who do not have some story of interaction with the “morality police.”
Iran has been enforcing dress codes for women long before the Iranian Islamic regime took power. The pro-Western ruler Reza Shah made the hijab illegal in an effort to Westernize Iran, which was met by protests in the 1930s. Then the Islamic regime made the hijab compulsory in 1979, with it being written into law in 1983. There have been consistent protests against the compulsory hijab, including the Girls of Revolution Street in 2017 and recent social media protests on National Hijab as well as Chastity Day.
WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN IRAN
Women’s rights are severely limited in Iran due to the emphasis on extremist interpretations of Islamic law. For example, Human Rights Watch reports that the law enacted on November 1, 2021, by Iran’s Guardian Council approved the “rejuvenation of the population and support of family” bill, which outlaws sterilization and free distribution of contraceptives in the public healthcare system unless the pregnancy threatens a woman’s health. This rolls back progressive steps to provide free contraception to women and added restrictions to existing limits on abortion. While the bill was supportive of pregnant and nursing mothers in the workforce, discrimination in employment or public activities was not addressed.
“Iranian legislators are avoiding addressing Iranians’ many serious problems, including government incompetence, corruption, and repression, and instead are attacking women’s fundamental rights,” said Tara Sepheri Far, senior Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The population growth law blatantly undermines the rights, dignity, and health of half of the country’s population, denying them access to essential reproductive health care and information.”
It is ironic that one of the most religious Islamic governments fails to follow the dictates of the Quran 2:256, which clearly states that “There is No Compulsion in the Religion (Din)” or La Iqra Fi Diin, one of the most famous verses of the Quran. Nor does Iran seem to do well in light of this Hadith on Women:
Finally, it is important to note that on a national and international level, Iranian women are up against a network of oppressive social systems, such as the legal requirements their government places on the hijab, U.S. imperialism, crippling sanctions, and more. Iranian women are not victims who need saving by Western powers. They are on the front lines, courageously fighting for their rights as we speak. Long live the Iranian people and their resistance!