Instead of paying a R300 fine, a woman is going to spend 2 years in jail for removing her headscarf in public
This is hard to swallow, so close to International Women's Day.
According to The Guardian, prosecutors claim that she removed the scarf on Tehran’s Enghelab Street as a way to “encourage corruption through the removal of the hijab in public.”
Just a month ago, more than 30 Iranian women were arrested for publicly removing their veils in defiance of the law.
This, while a man faced no consequences for allegedly raping a 26 year old woman, Reyhaneh Jabbari in the same country a few years ago. Reyhaneh was later executed by the Tehran court for murdering him.
In Saudi Arabia, lawmakers finally eased restrictions and lifted the ban on women driving (only last year) but some countries continue to regress with sexist, anti-women policies.
I have to point out here that this is a humanitarian and state issue - not a religious one. It's unfortunate that I feel the need to, as trolls online and people alike jump on the bandwagon of criticising Islam, defend it.
Like Alaa Murabit in the TED talk below, I too as a young Muslim woman am very proud of my faith. But the misrepresentation and misuse of religious scripture as she says, has been influencing our laws and daily lives to the point where we no longer recognise it.
I spotted this in a Facebook conversation thread. "Islam and its fundamentalism; yet again regressive and oppressive, dictating all aspects of an individual's life."
Now if people spent as much time seeking authentic knowledge – that is so widely and freely available – as they do criticising unjust patriarchal policies that have been embedded in several Islamic state's systems (and that are based on an incorrect interpretation of Islamic law), they'd realise that Islam, rather than subjugates, elevates the status of women. But that's a topic for another day.
The issue here, in this specific case isn't Islam – it's Iran.
Just like the discrimination against Iranian women in the job market, it could be argued that the entire political ideology has wholly dominated the women there since the Islamic revolution.
According to this article by Human Rights Watch, although Iranian women make up over 50% of university graduates, their participation in the labour force is only 17%.
The 2015 Global Gender Gap report also has Iran ranked among the last five countries (141 out of 145) for gender equality, including equality in economic participation.
How sad is it that the very women that gave birth to and mothered the men in lran are being subjected to extremism and bondage by them.
But, again, this is not Islam.
And while Iran has imposed a religious ruling on women to wear the headscarf, Muslim women in the West are hassled for wearing them.
It's no secret that countries like France and the Netherlands have approved a full and partial ban on women donning the burkah and niqab.
Isn't there just always something sordid about men in government positions trying to dictate what women have to wear?
To tweak Michelle Obama's message a bit: If you can judge a civilised society by the way they treat their women, I guess that makes them countries of cavemen.
If anything, I think the arrest and two-year sentence of this Iranian women just gave the rest of the country a greater incentive to protest.
Here are four other sexist laws around the world you might struggle to believe
A Nigerian penal code sanctions the use of force against women in marriage – it is within a husband’s legal rights to beat his wife “for the purpose of correcting” her, as long as it does not cause grievous bodily harm.
Israel is governed by Jewish law and under their Rabbanical law, wives require their husband's permission (known as a "get") for a divorce.
3. Pakistan & Iran
In some of their courts of law, a woman's testimony in court is either not valued or deemed as only half as credible as that of a man.
4. United States
Out of the 17 000 to 32 000 women who are raped and impregnated in the US each year, it is estimated that around 32% to 50% of them keep their babies.
For women living in Maryland, Alabama, Mississippi, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wyoming and New Mexico, they might find themselves in a custody battle with their attacker since these states have no laws preventing rapists from claiming parental rights. That might change soon in Maryland.
Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on W24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of W24.
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