The Islamic Republic has a major problem: Iranian wome
Sheda Vasseghi December 22, 2010, 9:03 pm
Recently Islamic Republic’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that feminism is “a cry of protest from crushed women in a capitalistic system.” Further, he called on all “Muslim” women to restore their rights in social, economic, cultural and political realms.
That the goal of the Islamic regime is to methodically
Two women, walk near the bazaar in central Tehran on Dec.8.
eradicate Iranian national identity, heritage and culture while draining Iranian resources
to further Shiite Islamic movements across the globe can clearly be seen from Ahmadinejd’s statement lumping Iranian women together with Muslim women. Given it is a death sentence under Islam to change religious affiliations and that Islam is a hostile, foreign ideology to many Iranians, it is rather presumptuous of Ahmadinejad to claim the majority of Iranian women identify with Muslims in a true sense after 31 years of physical, emotional and political torture under Islamic theocracy.
The founder of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ruhollah Khomeini, was exiled in the 1960’s because he was anti-women’s rights. Khomeini correctly argued that women’s rights were against Islamic teachings and laws. Born to Indian immigrants, Khomeini had no understanding or loyalty to Iran. His first victims were Iranian women, who were brutally forced under hijab as the symbol of their new status – second class citizens under the new theocracy. Although some argue hijab gives women “freedom” under Islam, the fact that anything “forced” is contradictory to “freedom” of choice nullifies that argument.
The Islamic Constitution of Iran drafted by the revolutionary mullahs and Islamist supporters is based on Sharia Laws. As educated global readers are now fully aware, Sharia Laws by essence take away the rights of minorities and women declaring them unequal to Muslim males.
In adherence to Islamic rules, the regime in Tehran supports and promotes temporary marriages or legalized prostitution. Women must obtain their husbands’ permission to attend college, travel or work. Female prisoners are raped in accordance with government-sanctioned religious beliefs. Capital punishment for women includes stoning. Mullahs in their twisted obsession with sexuality and sexual conduct openly discuss vulgar and personal matters with the male audience as a confirmation of their dominance in society.
What Ahmadinejad and the regime in Tehran fail to note, or choose to ignore, is that unlike women in other countries run by Islamists, Iranian women have resisted the theocratic regime for decades. In doing so, Iranian women have manipulated the enforced hijab degradation by wearing colorful clothes and thin headscarves. In their defiance of conservative dress codes, Iranian women wear heavy makeup, bleach their hair, and do their best to maintain feminism while fully clothed. They have forced their way in social and political settings as well as the work force. According to an angry Iranian woman, who called a talk show, “[i]n absence of weapons to fight these thugs for equality and democracy, we will use our fingernail polish.”
The bravery and continued resistance by Iranian women against the Islamic regime in Tehran was witnessed by the world since June 2009 as they not only joined millions in the national uprising, but in many instances, led the demonstrations. The world will not forget the first martyr of this national movement — a woman, who will forever be remembered by her first name, Neda.
The quest by these women for equality, equity and modernization is because they are Iranians, not because they are Muslims since it is the Iranian culture that protects, respects and promotes women. The endeavor of Iranian women in this regard should be an example to all women in the region under a similar plight.
The Iranian youth are fully aware of the previous generations’ social and economic accomplishments prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Modern day technology provides the means to view and share videos and photos of happier and more prosperous times.
Ahmadinejad and his Islamist supporters should note that the oldest enemy of the Islamic regime has been and will be the Iranian women. They have remained vigilant, they will continue to rise, and they will never rest until they have secured a secular and free Iran where they can once again choose how to live including how to dress.
Sheda Vasseghi is a member of the Board of Azadegan Foundation and persepolis3d.com. She is a regular contributor on Iran’s affairs.
This Article published in the Free Press
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