Compulsory Veils? Half of Iranians Say ‘No’ to Pillar of Revolution

Source: The New York Times

The office of Iran’s president on Sunday charged into the middle of one of the most contentious debates over the character of the Islamic Republic, suddenly releasing a three-year-old report showing that nearly half of Iranians wanted an end to the requirement that women cover their heads in public.

The report’s release comes as dozens of women in recent weeks have protested in public against being forced to wear the veil, a symbol of Iran’s revolution as much as it is deemed a religious requirement.

The decision to release the report — which found that 49.8 percent of Iranians, both women and men, consider the Islamic veil a private matter and think the government should have no say in it — appears to pit President Hassan Rouhani directly against Iran’s hard-line judiciary, which on Friday said that 29 people had been detained in connection with the protests. They have called the demonstrations “childish,” insist that the large majority of Iranians support Islamic veiling and have called for harsher measures against those protesting the veil.

At least as striking as the report’s findings was the timing of its release. The study is from 2014, and publishing it now suggests that the president saw this as a moment to challenge the hard-liners, who hold ultimate power, about such a symbolically potent issue.

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16 replies

  1. Rafiq, does not want to discuss about Hijab or burqa.
    He does not respect my interpretation of Hijab, and then he always delete it.
    Like the extremist clerics ban and persecute Ahmadiyyah because they do not like Ahmadiyyah.
    Very sad indeed.
    May God change his atitude toward progressive Muslim who help Ahmadiyyah’s right every countries.


    • What is the big fuss about Hijab? I think I said that in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community it is highly recommended to wear Hijab. Our ladies are not scared of crazy Islamophobes. But it is a recommendation and not a ‘law’. There is no punishment if a lady chooses not to wear it. It is in a way equal to prayers. It is recommended to pray five times a day. But if someone does not do it regularly that is between him/her and Allah. It is his/her loss. I hope you get my point. And, yes, we like to NOT eat pork as well.

    • Why do you think that women who wear a hijab create conflict and fear to you? Personally I want to know why does that scare YOU?

  2. Wow, somi that’s new. In the Quran Allah says to cover yourself, chapter 24 and you say that those who do will displease God? Are you inventing a new religion? I’m an Ahmadiyya Muslim Woman, and I’m grateful and Humble and extremely estatic to be a hijab wearing woman. It is a part of my body, my soul, my spirit, my words and my life. How would you like like you cut your leg off and throw that away?

  3. There is an archaic obsession with hiding the hair. The origin can be found in the Torah. It was much the same in Christianity, as well as with Jews. But over the course of time it became more relaxed, and until recently women tended to wear hats or scarves when going to church, as a mark of respect. Now even that has largely fallen by the wayside, except in the orthodox church and synagogue, and some other groups. That does not mean that those people are any less religious or sincere. Religion should be a matter of the heart, not the hair.

  4. The Arabic word hijab or veil means covering. Hijab is the modest covering of a Muslim woman.The wearing of a veil is not unique to Islam. If we look in the Bible it says:
    When Re-bek’ah raised her eyes, she caught sight of Isaac and she swung herself down from off the camel. Then she said to the servant ‘who is that walking in the field to meet us?’ and the servant said ‘It is my master’ And she proceeded to take a head-cloth and to cover herself. (Genesis: 24: 64 and 65)
    “But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered shames her head for it is one and the same as if she were a (woman) with a shaved head. For if a woman does not cover herself let her also be shorn; but if it is disgraceful for woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered”. (1 Corinthians: 11: 5, 6)

    From the above, it is obvious that the Bible regards the veiling of women as a pious act. Other previously revealed scriptures contain traces of similar teachings and Islam came only to complete and perfect them.

    The Muslim scripture, the Holy Quran says: “
    In Islam, not only women, but men are also required to practice purdah. God has commanded men:
    “Say to the believing men that they restrain their looks and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Surely, God is Well-Aware of what they do.” (24:31)

    • I do not know where Somi is living, but I can assure you that for instance in Indonesia some very modern ladies wear Hijab. Vive la difference. It is a pitty when everyone from everywhere wears the same bluejeans pants and bluejeans jacket. Sad … Yes, Muslims should progress in Science, but they can do that with hijab as well.

    • Islam will be a religion of progress no matter if women wear the hijab or not. Your opinion is very narrow minded. It doesn’t matter if it is ancient to wear a hijab or recent, the hijab doesn’t have an impact on our religion and I fail to see why you feel this way. It is our own right to wear the hijab, just because you feel that our region is not progressing doesn’t mean that you’re right. But please feel free to tell us why you feel this way.

    Only few Muslim women succeed her dream as exception. Most Muslim women live in a huge jail in Saudi and Iran. No freedom for women to pursue her dream.

    1. Hijab prevent women to progress and join the olympic sport competition.
    Look at how many Muslim women to participate in olympic sport? 5-10 women. Very sad and embarrassing.

    The extremist parents and clerics have tought their girls from 4-6 years old has to wear Hijab. They say: girls are forbidden to show her hair, hands and feet in mix public.

    2. Hijab prevent Muslim women to pursue her dream in many worldly activities such as: International beauty contest. International economic activity, etc etc
    Hijab women / girls feel ackward to work at non Islam company.

    Hijab girls / student feel ackward to study at abroad University. She feels uncomford if non Muslim student see her as the extremist Muslim or terrorist family etc.

    So the extremist clerics wahhabi have been implementing wrong Islam and put women in hardship or difficulty.

    Whereas the true Islam according Al Quran, according to Allah and prophet ISLAM DO NOT put any hardship to women.

    “He has chosen you and did not impose any hardship on you in the religion, the faith of your father Ibrahim.”22/78.

    So base on God’s word, most extremist clerics do not want to tell you this verse, on contrary the extremist wahhabi clerics make Muslim women in hardship to carry out Islam.

    My conclusion
    The wahhabi extremist clerics have been misleading all sects Islam around the world hundred years.

    Am I wrong?
    Progressive Muslim is champion for change!
    Was Salam—All our ❤️

    • Somi you are wrong at so many levels , you don’t even realize. I hope and pray that you don’t have a daughter because you will make her such a fearful and confused personality. To answer you.

      1. Muslim women do not participate in Olympics because of their hijab but because of their interest. Do you eat because people tell you to eat or do you wait until you ARE hungry? Simple, it’s a matter of interest. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

      2. Hijab can never hinder a women from reaching her full potential or realizing her dreams or perusing a perfession as I myself have worn hijab all through school, high school, university, and then I have worked for a ver well respected Firm for 10 years until I took time off for my family and children. My Hijab was well respected and loved and no one was afraid of it. No one was scared and it was never in any way making anyone feel awkward.

      So somi, the only one who is afraid here is YOU, and I think, just get your wife to wear hijab at home for a year and your phobia will go away.

    • Somi firstly thank you for answering my question. I do believe you are wrong in some aspects. Somi, you are not a female and you won’t be able to understand but what I don’t understand is how you think that all of what you said is true because you have never experienced it. You have never worn a hijab so how do you know that women feel that way? I have worn a hijab for as long as I can remember and I have felt safe and very respected in my university and at work, which is why I fail to understand why you wrote such things. I am an Ahmadi Muslim and my parents never forced me ever to wear the hijab, it’s a personal decision I made on my own. And most girls and women wear the hijab because they want to not because they are forced. I have experience in wearing the hijab and doing everything that I ever wanted to and it has never stopped me. You can’t just stop women from wearing the hijab. If I told you that I don’t feel safe that you are wearing a shirt, would you walk without a shirt on your back? I hope you answer my last question.

    • Muslim ladies have answered you. May be we can close this discussion now. By the way in Geneva’s CERN project an Ahmadi lady is working …

  6. This topic has been covered several times before. There is no logical reason why women (and some men) should be clad in what is essentially Middle Eastern clothing. Women are being sexualised more by being required to keep their hair, arms and legs covered, which has no logic whatsoever. It was the same with Christians in the past,most recently during the Victorian era, and Orthodox Jews still practice a similar dress code today with some sects even requiring their women to wear wigs to hide their real hair. It’s all so primitive, and the world is constantly changing, not necessarily always for the better, but we have progressed to the point of women achieving equality with men, and dress needs to be adapted to deal with general life. Modesty should be the code, as well as practicality and suitability for purpose. Further, I have noticed that many Muslim ladies who are otherwise heavily covered, also often wear over-the-top makeup more suited to the stage. What is that all about, if not sexualising themselves? If you compare some of the news readers and others on Middle Eastern and European TV, it can be seen that it is the Europeans come across as more modest.

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