Thursday, July 25, 2024

Iran’s Hijab Row: Protesting Women Sent for ‘Re-education’ and ‘Psychological Treatment’

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In recent months, Iran witnessed a wave of protests against the compulsory hijab. Women have taken to the streets, removing their headscarves in defiance of this misogynistic law. The Iranian government has responded with a crackdown, arresting and detaining hundreds of women. Recently, the Iranian government sent protesting and non-compliant women for “re-education” and “psychological treatment”.

Iranian women’s hijab row continues to spark heated debate over women’s rights and freedoms in the country. Consequently, the government has taken an aggressive approach to ensuring hijab compliance. The administration’s steps have increased alarming instances of psychological abuse against protesting women who dare to defy the dress code. From punishing prominent actresses to schoolchildren, the Iranian regime’s actions have drawn widespread criticism. Moreover, its orthodox crackdowns raise serious questions about women’s rights in the nation.

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The Genesis of the Hijab Row in Iran

The compulsory hijab row is a source of controversy in Iran for many years. The battle for freedom for Iranian women began after 1979. The Islamic Revolution brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power. Khomeini believed that the hijab was a religious requirement for all Muslim women, and he ordered the police to enforce the law. This misogynistic and suppressive law was met with resistance from Iranian women since its inception. Thus, the Islamic Republic of Iran has witnessed several protests against the law. However, these protests were effectively and efficiently suppressed by the government.

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The most recent wave of protests against the compulsory hijab began in May 2022. The protests were sparked by the arrest of a young woman named Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for removing her headscarf in public. Her arrest and subsequent death in custody sparked outrage among many Iranian women and men. Iran’s protesting women took to the streets against the hijab law across several cities in the country. The Iranian government arrested hundreds of women for protesting without a hijab. Reports state that at least 300 women were arrested for non-compliance with the hijab rule. Their battle against hijab resulted in weeks of detainment for some women or a prison sentence of up to 2 years for others.

In recent years, the hijab battle has resurfaced in the nation due to the growing influence of social media and access to education.

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Modern Iranian women protest the compulsory dictate of the government to wear the hijab, a head covering that conceals their hair, in public places at all times. These Iranian women and men have challenged this rule in public protests to advocate their rights and desire for more personal freedoms.

Prominent Cases of Punishment in the Hijab Row of Iran

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Iranian actress Afsaneh Bayegan’s hijab battle gained international attention. She repeatedly posted photos of her unveiled hair on social media. In response, the Iranian government handed her a two-year suspended prison sentence. Recently, the actress is out on bail with mandatory weekly visits to a “psychological center” to “treat her anti-family personality disorder.”

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Actress Azadeh Samadi faced a similar fate when she wore a hat instead of a hijab at a funeral. Iranian judges diagnosed her with an “antisocial personality disorder,” subjecting her to therapy in a “psychological center.” There are many such cases that highlight the misuse of psychological treatment as a means of punishing women who defy the mandatory hijab.

Iranian Women’s Struggle for Freedom and Rights

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The Iranian government’s intensified crackdowns on protesting women in the hijab row have raised eyebrows globally. Reports state that the Iranian Education Minister accepts that during the Mahsa Amini protests school children were detained. Moreover, he accepts that they were sent to “medical psychological centers” for “re-education” to prevent “anti-social” behavior. These actions seriously violate the rights of women and children. Human welfare organizations have raised serious concerns about the use of “re-education” centers by the government to silence detractors. The well-being of all individuals under such a government is a serious threat to personal autonomy.

Additionally, hefty fines, confiscation of personal vehicles, and loss of jobs are weapons that the Iranian administration is using against any woman found without a hijab. Horrifyingly women have even been denied hospital treatment if they are not wearing a hijab. This hijab row also forces the closure of shops that cater to unveiled women. Unsurprisingly, the Iranian parliament is considering a bill that proposes even harsher penalties, including death sentences, for women who repeatedly protest against the hijab.

Challenges Ahead for Women in the Hijab Row

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The alarming escalation of mandatorily enforcing hijab regulations highlights the deeply rooted misogyny within the Iranian regime. The government’s actions reveal a fundamental lack of respect for women’s autonomy, freedom, and dignity. While the radical Islamists in power think denial of hijab is ‘westernized’, ‘anti-Islamic’, and ‘promiscuous’; the women of Iran understand that the Hijab Battle is a fight for the rights of women under the Islamic regime.

The Iranian Research Institute states that 63% of Iranian women believe that the compulsory hijab should be abolished. Furthermore, the poll states that 72% of Iranian women believe that the government’s actions on the hijab protests are a violation of their rights. Thus, the international community must stand together in solidarity with Iranian women to force the hand of the Iranian government. The Iranian regime must be made to understand the error of their thoughts and actions.


The ‘Mandatory Hijab Row’ or the ‘Hijab Battle of Iran’ reflects a broader struggle for women’s rights and personal freedoms under Islam. The Iranian regime’s misogynistic actions, psychological abuse, harsh penalties, and repression of detractors demonstrate their blatant disregard for human life and rights. The global community must not be silent as Iran continues to suppress women and children under so-called Islamic practices.

The hijab protests in Iran are a sign of the growing rebellion among Iranian women. They continue to fight the country’s orthodox views on dress code laws. While brave Iranian women fight for their right to choose and express themselves freely, the world should come together to support their cause by holding the Iranian government accountable for its actions. The Iranian government’s mistreatment of women must stop. However, the people of Iran cannot bring about this change by themselves. Global support is essential to the basic principles of gender equality and human rights in Iran. Iran must not be allowed to silence its women using “re-education” centers and “psychological treatment” as punishment for their protests against hijab.

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