Many protests have broken out against hijab being compulsory for women in Iran. In December 2017, a group of women protested against the compulsory hijab law by taking off their hijabs on the street and waving a white flag. Ever since that incident, 30 Iranian women have been arrested and jailed.
20 Years Jail for removing Hijab: Shapark Shajarizadeh a 42-year-old woman was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison (2 years in jail and 18 years of suspended imprisonment) for removing her hijab in public in the same protest. Her lawyer reported that Shajarizadeh was tortured and beaten up after her arrest.
Her lawyer was also arrested. Shajarizadeh herself was reported to be released on bail in April but her whereabouts are also unknown to the public. According to the news, both women were charged with ‘‘national security’’ crimes.
My heart is bleeding for #ShaparakShajarizadeh who’s reacting after she just found out she was sentenced to 20 years of prison. Let’s show her and the other brave #IranianWomen that they are not alone!#GirlsOfRevolutionStreet#Feminism#Freedom#NoToGenderDiscrimination pic.twitter.com/kBH27EvcpE
— Darya Safai (@SafaiDarya) July 8, 2018
Punishment for removing Hijab: Women are required to wear hijab at all times in public in Iran. Women who do not follow the compulsory hijab rule risk being jailed or facing a very heavy fine.
According to Article 638 of Iran’s Islamic Penal code, women who are seen without hijab in public places can be sentenced to prison for ten days to two months or fined with 5 hundred to 50 thousand riyals.
#ShaparakShajarizadeh: People on social media showed great support towards the 42 years old mother Shaparak Shajarizadeh. The #ShaparakShajarizadeh soon went viral.
People showed their sympathy towards the woman and called this a brutal act by the Iranian Government. What a woman wants to wear in public, it is up to her.
People criticized the law and said that Shajarizadeh had committed a harmless act, in fact, she had only stood for her rights. This was no reason for the authorities to treat her in such a way.
Shajarizadeh is not the only one subjected to such brutality, in March Vida Movahed was imprisoned for two years for taking off her scarf in public during the protest.
The woman was encouraging Corruption: The prosecutors believed that the woman was encouraging corruption by removing her scarf in public. Vida Movahed, the 31-year-old woman was caught on camera taking off her headscarf in Tehran.
The image soon went viral and she became a symbol for the battle against compulsory hijab in Iran. The girl is known as the ‘Girl of Enghelab street’, Enghelab meaning revolution and Enghelab street referring to the street in which she carried out the act.
Before 1970, it was banned to wear hijab in Iran: Things were very different in Iran before the violent revolution that took place in the 1970’s to overthrow the ruling family. In fact, in the 1930’s, Reza Pahlavi had banned wearing the hijab. However, after the revolution, in 1979 it became compulsory.
At the time that it was implemented, women came out on the streets to protest but despite many huge protests since then, the law could not be changed. The Iranian Government needs to take a broader approach and stop punishing people for their freedom.
Everyone has freedom of getting dressed the way they want. Islam does not teach us to force people into things and then punish them if they don’t oblige. Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has also issued a statement that Abaya is not necessary for women in Saudi Arabia.