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Iranian women take to social media to protest mandatory hijab laws

Iranian women take to social media to protest mandatory hijab laws

Last year, 3.6 million women in Iran were warned, fined or arrested for not wearing hijabs.

A Facebook page set up by London-based Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad, is trying to change all that.

The page has been inundated with women across Iran sending unveiled pictures taken in parks, at the seaside and in the streets.

The thousands of pictures of Iranian women taking off their veils are igniting a debate about the freedom to wear or not wear the hijab.

One woman wrote “I believe in the hijab but not the obligatory hijab.”

Many other posts echoed a similar belief that wearing the hijab should be a choice not an obligation.

Other spoke of wanting to feel the wind through their hair and described ‘heaven’ as a place were they “could be free to make their own choices.”

The heat of an Iranian summer, which averages 40C, has seen many women in the country push the boundaries, wearing loose hijab or sporting clothing and haircuts the authorities deem “un-Islamic” by the country’s religious police who are often deployed on the streets, cracking down on those with “bad hijab” or arresting those who defy the rules.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, has spoken out against the crackdown, but his government has little control over these forces, who operate under other Iranian political institutes such as the revolutionary guards.

“I’m certainly against these actions,” the president said last year.

“If a woman or a man does not comply with our rules for clothing, his or her virtue should not come under question … In my view, many women in our society who do not respect our hijab laws are virtuous. Our emphasis should be on the virtue.”

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