Iran’s Hijab Mandate– And What’s Wrong With It

Fatimah Idrees

Since early October, 92 women in Iran have been murdered– that have been reported (France 24). This was all due to the rising strictness in Iran’s Hijab Mandate. 

Iranian women are forced to wear a hijab regardless of their religion. Many women have been bringing awareness to this issue  and have reflected upon the 1983 law that forced them into wearing the headscarf. The 1983 law made wearing hijab officially obligatory– and the punishment for removing it was 74 lashes. The law was later changed to a monetary fine and a prison sentence and the law has been enforced stricter and stricter ever since. 

Some may argue that the law in Iran is moral, however, there’s more to the law than just wearing a hijab– it also stigmatizes the public relationship between men and women, mandates the type of clothing women wear, sets the country back in terms of modernity while also going against the ways of Islam. As an American reading this from the comfort of your home and has only seen their situation on social media, you may wonder how this affects you. The law doesn’t affect you anyways, since you’re halfway across the globe. The thing is, the law doesn’t have much to do with religion rather than controlling Iranian citizens’ rights, especially women’s rights. Iranian government has complete control over social media in Iran and literally detains anyone that does anything out of line. 

Take Mahsa Amini, who was murdered  on September 16th, 2022, because she wasn’t wearing a hijab “properly.” She was detained by the police and beaten to death. She ended up dying at the hospital under suspicious circumstances (The Jerusalem Post) Her death was the first to shed light on the situation  in Iran, and once other women had started  to share their own stories and difficulties with the mandate, they began dropping like flies. Others that had died were Hajar Abbasi, Nika Shakarami, Minoo Majidi, Ghazaleh Chelavi, Hananaeh Kia, Hadis Najafi, and Sabrina Esmaelzadeh– many of whom weren’t even grown adults. 

These are just the deaths that have been publicized – again, 84 more women have died because of the protests against the hijab mandate. There may be more because scarily enough, Iran cut off Internet access to the rest of the world, leaving the citizens as sitting ducks. The last time their internet was cut off was when the fuel price increased in 2019, during the Bloody November protests. 

Unfortunately,history may soon repeat itself. On October 29th, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard threatened that that “Saturday would be their last day of taking to the streets, and warnings of massacres arose.” Nothing else has  been said about  the matter as protests continue, but the threat lingers. 

Though there isn’t much we can do for the suffering citizens of Iran, the least we can do as spectators is spread awareness and try to appreciate our own freedom a bit more.