Tehran Friday Prayer Preacher Slams Government Leniency with Hijab

Tehran Friday Prayer Preacher Slams Government Leniency with Hijab

Saturday, 3 March, 2018 - 09:00
Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami delivers a sermon during Friday prayers in Tehran, May 26, 2017
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Friday Prayers sermons in Iran witnessed slamming of the Iranian government policy in facing protests. The toughest criticism was made by the interim leader of Tehran's Friday Prayers Ahmad Khatami against the soft procedures in dealing with the feminist movement that is anti-obligatory to hijab in Iran.

Khatami accused Iranian President Hassan Rouhani of implicitly leading the hijab-less protests, considering promoters of annulling the obligatory hijab as auxiliaries of Europe.

Iran has been witnessing in the past months a feminist movement led by Iranian activist women against what is described as mandatory hijab in Iran -- the movement became the major challenge in the Iranian interior, after protests that spurred in more than 80 Iranian cities against increased prices.

It is also undergoing escalation with protests going down to streets and removing the hijab – experts see that this is due to vows given by Rouhani during his electoral campaign to decrease pressure on women and halt discrimination against them.

Up to 30 protests were detained and are likely to be sentenced for 10 years in prison in case the judiciary considered that their movement aims to encourage other women to imitate their action.

Vice-President Masuma Ibtikar took part in the ongoing debate, following a video that went viral showing an Iranian policeman pushing a protesting woman from the podium to the ground before arresting her.

Until now, the identity and fate of the woman haven't been known, leading to rage even among the pro-hijab party.

In a news conference, Ibtikar said that the government approves the use of power to impose hijab in public places. AFP quoted Ibtikar as saying that this is a social law but it is unacceptable to impose it by force.

In a related matter, 45 EU members demanded in a letter to EU's high representative for foreign affairs Federica Mogherini that she backs those detained because of compulsory hijab and urge their release unconditionally.

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