Iranian Police begin crackdown on women’s dress

// 23 April 2007

In preparation for the summer Iranian Police have so far stopped 1,300 women and warned them about breaching the Sharia imposed dress code with 59 being referred to Court.

Under Iran’s Islamic Sharia law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are obliged to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes to disguise their figures and protect their modesty. The Scotsman

Previously, under President Mohammad Khatami’s (1997-2005) the enforcing of Islamix dress codes was relaxed. However under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known as a hardliner, these codes have been strictly enforced to make good on his pledge for tighter controls on “immoral behaviour”. Ahmadinejad has this month referred to the need to crackdown on “the shameless hussies who do not wear a hijab” (reported here). The Scotsman talks about:

Young women testing the limits of the law with shorter, brighter and skimpier clothing.

And what does this consist of? Well apparently shunning the head to toe black Chador and wearing calf-length Capri pants, tight-fitting, thigh-length coats and brightly coloured scarves pushed back to expose plenty of hair. To see what they mean by “plenty” of hair, the Scotsman provides us with a photograph. The woman on the right is an official warning the “immodestly” dressed woman on the left.

Immodest dress in Tehrain

From The Scotsman

So why the concern? Immodest dress can lead to women being lashed (often immediately, without appeal or due process), fined or imprisoned. Sharia legal codes are based on the concept that women are innately inferior and deficient. Zohreh Arshadi’s Bulletin on Iranian Penal Law and gender is available here. She highlights that women are both unfairly treated under Sharia law and at the forefront of resistance to it. However this month General Ahmad Moghaddam, Iran’s Police Chief also stated that women not wearing the Chador were “tools of the enemy”.

“Women who do not wear the veil and don’t abide by the Muslim dress code are tools of the enemy, who tries to destroy the system by spreading a cuture which goes against Islamic values. The police must solve this problem because it is intolerable to accept the challenge posed by some women to the Islamic principles on which our system is based and which the enemy would like to overthrow.” The Bullpen

These comments came as his announced that women not complying exactly with the code would face automatic arrest.

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