Iran Human Rights, January 30, 2018.
About one month after a girl showed her civil disobedience by removing her scarf at Tehran’s Revolution Street, several women have in recent days replicated her action to show their protest against the compulsory hijab (Pictures).
According to unconfirmed reports, several of these women have been arrested. Iran Human Rights (IHR) calls on the world community to show its solidarity with Iranian women's struggle against forced hijab. IHR spokesman Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said, “By showing solidarity, the world community can prevent Iranian authorities from using violence and detention against women who fight for their dignity and show civil disobedience in the most peaceful way.”
Soon after the victory of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the name of all public places which honoured Pahlavi Dynasty figures were changed to new revolutionary names.
Tehran’s Shah Reza street (after the Shah’s father) was not an exception. Revolution Street (Persian: Khiaban-e-Enghelab) is the current name of the street, which houses the famous Tehran University and many bookstores. Revolution Street is one of the most crowded streets in the Iranian capital.
Islamist groups played a significant role in the victory of the revolution, and Ayatollah Khomeini, a Shia Muslim cleric, became the revolution’s leader. Soon after the revolution, Khomeini recommended that women wear Islamic Hijab in public places.
“Muslim women must come to the public places with their Islamic Hijab. They should not wear makeup. Women still work at government institutions with their previous condition [of dress code]. They should change this situation,” Khomeini said on March 7, 1979.
Thousands of Iranian women gathered in streets on International Women’s Day 1979 to protest against compulsory hijab. However, the new establishment imposed the limitations by use of force.
Hassan Rouhani, the current President of the Islamic Republic, was one of the first figures who played a significant role in imposing compulsory hijab. He started enforcing compulsory hijab by not letting women employees without Islamic Hijab into Army buildings.
“These efforts were fruitful”, Rouhani wrote in his book of memoirs, “and after the Nowrouz [Iranian new year] holidays, all the female government employees came to work with the scarves [on their heads]. The hijab [rule] was gradually imposed in the other government institutions, and even the Radio Television division.” He thanked God for helping him “solve the social disaster” of not wearing hijab.
In the following months, police and plainclothes militant groups started harassing women who refused to cover their hair properly. A law was passed in which women not following the Islamic dress code were subject to punishment, including lashes and imprisonment.
For almost four decades, women in Iran suffered from the Islamic Republic’s oppressive policies. But on December 27, 2017, photos and videos of a woman standing on a telecom box on Tehran’s “Revolution Street” flashed around the world. She took off her white scarf and waved it like a flag on the top of a wooden stick. This revolutionary nonviolent action against the compulsory hijab by a woman who was born years after the 1979 revolution, was obviously not without consequences. She was taken away by the police and for several days there was no official news about what had happened to her.
During the days after the event, thousands of Iranian social media users posted the Persian and English hashtag #WhereIsShe [in Farsi: #Where-is-the-girl-of-the-Revolution-Street], demanding to know what happened to the girl of Revolution Street.
Nasrin Sotoudeh, the Iranian human rights lawyer who had herself previously been imprisoned by the Iranian authorities, started an investigation and found out that authorities arrested the woman. Sotoudeh revealed that the woman is 31 years old and a mother of a 19-month-old child.
Sotoudeh continued her efforts to follow up on the women’s fate, and on January 28, she posted on her Facebook page that “the girl of the Revolution street has been released.”
But it was not the end of the story.
On January 29, several images posted on social media showed other women following the same path. Videos and pictures of at least six women taking off their scarves and waving them on the end of a wooden stick have been circulating on the social media. The girl of the Revolution Street has already been replicated to become many Revolutionary Girls in other streets, the women who demand their basic rights and freedoms.
It seems at least some of those women are under arrest at the moment of publishing this report.
She is the Girl of Revolution Street:
According to unconfirmed sources, her name is Vida Movahhed.
Update: The act continues on January 30 and 31...
Even some of those who want to wear hijab, start defending the other women's right.