Western governments must show solidarity with Iranian human rights activists and not abandon them for the sake of commercial activities with a regime that has abysmal record on human rights, anti-compulsory hijab campaigner Masih Alinejad, said at an panel for members of the Swedish Parliament.
Speaking alongside Javaid Rehman, the UN special rapporteur, Alinejad, the founder of My Stealthy Freedom/White Wednesdays campaigns against compulsory hijab in Iran, condemned the election of the Islamic Republic, in a secret ballot, to UN’s Commission on Status of Women, which works to be the global champion for gender equality.
“A regime that doesn’t allow its women to make decisions for their own body has been elected by UN to its top body to monitor condition of women globally,” Alinejad said. “This is an insult to Iranian women who are in jail & to millions of others who get beaten up by the same regime”
Alinejad urged the EU to Islamic Republic to give a true accounting of the events surrounding the November 2019 protests during which the security forces killed more than 1,500 protesters. The Islamic Republic is just like the Islamic State, Alinejad said, resorting to brutal force to enforce a religious dictatorship.
“How can you reform ISIS”, she said. “The Islamic Republic has many characteristics similar to ISIS. Just like ISIS, it kills dissidents, takes dual nationals hostage, flogs people who don’t practice Islam, is the biggest enemy of women, issues fatwas on dissidents and many more.”
Alinejad said she was in touch with tens of mothers who had lost their loved ones during the protests. “If your own children were killed by an oppressive regime for the crime of protesting, what would you do?” she said. “Would you shake hands with the killers of your children? Would you negotiate trade deals with them?”
At an event at the Swedish parliament, along with Dr. Javid Rahman, the UN special rapporteur, Masih Alinejad the founder of anti compulsory hijab movement in Iran, condemned the election of Islamic Republic of Iran to UN’s commission on the status of women.
Women of #WhiteWednesdays in Iran are still in prison. By removing their compulsory hijab, they had produced this awe-inspiring video on women’s day on Tehran’s metro. They were calling their sisters to band together, regardless of whether they wear hijab or not.
In spite of being sentenced to long prison sentences, they don’t regret their heroic act. Don’t forget their names and help us raise awareness for their release Yasaman Aryani Monireh Arab-shahi Mojgan Keshavarz Saba Kord-Afshari Raheleh Ahmadi They’re Iran’s Rosa Parks And here is a message from these two brave mother and daughter from prison for #InternationalWomensDay
The bravery of Iranian women in the face of misogynist clerics who impose compulsory hijab on them is simply awe-inspiring. Over the course of our campaign, we have received countless videos from many Iranian women overtly walking unveiled in front of clerics in Iran. Despite being verbally attacked and humiliated by these clerics, these women continued their combat and filmed their experience. Such humiliation has been ongoing for more than 40 years now. What we have done is to relay these women’s heroic fight to the entire world so that the world becomes aware of fact that hijab is not merely a piece of cloth. In the hands of dictators, it can deprive women of their agency. Here is a selection of 13 women who fight the verbal abuse of 13 clerics and walk unveiled despite the threats.
Often times, the issue of compulsory hijab is cast as being a domestic matter. Some in the West, especially certain well-intentioned politicians don the compulsory hijab without asking any questions, thinking that they’re respecting our culture.
When female politicians from the West travel to Iran and wear the compulsory hijab unquestioningly, they are contributing to our repression. They often say they wear compulsory hijab because it’s supposed to be our “culture”. WRONG! Compulsion has never been our culture. There are millions of Iranian women who don’t want to wear hijab. This is the culture of a repressive regime, not ours. Female Western politicians should not normalise this.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has used Western politicians’ submission to compulsory hijab in its dealings with Iranian women to tell them, “look! Even Western women wear hijab when they visit Iran. What are you complaining about?
Many Iranian women feel left out by the West when it comes to their struggles against repression. While Western politicians prioritise negotiating with our oppressors, our cries for freedom fall on deaf ears.