As Iran heats up this summer, the morality police are cracking down harder than ever on those who disobey the Islamic dress code. If you happen to be in Tehran as a tourist or on business, you had best comply with the code, or the morality police will throw you in jail, where you can count on being raped, beaten, and tortured.
Downtown Express In Iran, when a woman steps outside her house, she has two choices: She can wear the chador — a long usually black cloak worn over the head and body, which, covering several layers of clothing, is kept in place by clutching it in one’s hands or holding the loose ends in one’s teeth.
Or she can chose the manteau — a shoulder-padded, dark coloured, shapeless trench coat worn over long pants. Her hair must be entirely covered either with a scarf firmly tied or a maghneh, a hooded head covering, often worn by students.
The Islamic dress code, imposed by the 1979 revolution, mandates that from the start of menstruation, a woman outside of her home or in the presence of an unrelated man must completely cover her hair and neck and wear long, loose-fitting clothing to hide the contours of her body, as well as her arms and legs. Any woman found to be “badly veiled” can by arrested and jailed by the morality police.Checkpoints run by the morality police have mushroomed all over Tehran and, residents say, it’s not uncommon to see women getting violently stuffed into one of their ubiquitous vans.
The Daily Beast In summer, the morality police come out in droves to make sure the citizenry isn’t flashing too much skin or acting in other inappropriate ways. Since June, 2011, 70,000 morality police have been sent out into the streets of Tehran alone.
The red line on what is deemed acceptable can seem arbitrary at times, and over the years the morality police have disproportionately targeted women since they’re required by law to cover themselves from head to toe. Chalk one up for gender equality last year when the morality police issued new guidelines for men’s haircuts. No more mullets, ponytails, or a popular hairstyle called the rooster, which swoops up in a faux-hawk in the front and flares out at the back. And there’s a new restriction for men this summer: no necklaces.
The government has not only spelled out the crackdown in legal terms, but has also tried to make the case that inappropriate clothing can be directly linked to damnation. Last week, an analyst named Ali Akbar Raefipour, appeared on state television and claimed that the word “jeans” actually comes from the word “jinn,” which are supernatural beings that can fly and take the form of animals. He took it a step further by comparing women’s high heels to the hooves of demons.
Still, if the spiritual warnings didn’t grab the attention of miscreants, the heavy fines just might. A list of common fines for women, posted on some opposition websites, include: wearing sunglasses above your headscarf ($15), wearing a tunic covering that’s too short ($30), wearing a tunic with bright colors ($30), wearing nail polish ($5 per finger), having tan skin ($23) and having hair that’s been lightened ($15 to $45).
This is what happens to a woman in jail for refusing to cover her head:
For ordinary Iranians, the evidence of the crackdown is in plain sight. Checkpoints run by the morality police have mushroomed all over Tehran and, residents say, it’s not uncommon to see women getting man-handled and stuffed into one of their ubiquitous vans.
Soheila, a 28-year old Tehran resident, has had enough. “I was even with my husband one time when a policewoman gave me a warning about bad hijab,” she says. “I’m going to start wearing the chador [a head-to-toe cloth covering] because I’m afraid of the morality police.”
As Iranians sweat it out in the summer heat, another season of harassment continues. But at least one courageous young Iranian woman (below) fought back…she WON. Hopefully she is not in jail now.