On September 16th, 2022, an Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini fell into a coma and died after being arrested by Iran’s morality police for wearing her Hijab “improperly”. Iran implements strict Islamic dress codes for men and women but these rules are mainly and disproportionally aimed toward women. Amini was taken and detained from her brother’s side in Tehran and assured that she would be returned to their family. Amini never returned to her family and died a few days after being detained. The morality police are trying to claim that Amini had some type of heart issue that caused her untimely death. Onlookers from when Amini was detained reported the morality police were beating her and causing her harm. The New York Times reported that CT scans of Amini’s body showed evidence of a brain hemorrhage indicative of being beaten. All evidence points to the brutality of the morality police being the cause of her death. The morality police are violent and often women are harassed or harmed by them as punishment. It is clear that they are trying to cover up Mahsa Amini’s death but Iran has had enough and so has the rest of the world.
The “Gasht-e-Ershad” which roughly translates into the ‘guidance patrol’ is to enforce the Islamic dress code in public. They are also known as the “morality police”. The morality police have the same amount of power as law enforcement and they have been terrorizing and abusing their power for decades. When the morality police find women in non-compliance they are often treated like criminals. They are detained, booked, photographed, shamed, and forced to take classes on Islamic morality. Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran has stated “since their creation, which has no basis in any law, agents of these centers have arbitrarily detained countless women under the pretense of not complying with the state’s forced hijab.”
A large part of Islamic society is based on Islamic Sharia law. “Sharia is the ideal form of divine guidance that Muslims follow to live a righteous life.” Sharia is not the same as Islamic Law. Sharia is the idealistic, perfect values understood only by God while Islamic Law is laws based on the interpretation of Sharia. Like with most things this practice has been picked apart and left up to interpretation which is causing some major conflicts.
99.4% of the population of Iran classify as Muslim; “submitters to god” and are people who adhere to Islam which is an Abrahamic religion. The fundamental religious text in Iran is the Quran. Iran is an Islamic theocracy that was implemented after the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution that overthrew Iran’s long-standing monarchy. Before 1979 women had the freedom to choose to wear a hijab or not. A theocracy is a “government by divine guidance, or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided”. They base their politics on religious law.
Since Amini’s death demonstrations broke out in Tehran and all over Iran with people, mainly women, fighting for not only justice for Amini but also for women’s rights. Women are protesting by not wearing the required Hijab in public and cutting their hair. Many are also burning the symbolic Hijab in protest. A lot of women across social media platforms are also cutting their hair as a way to stand in solidarity with Iranian women. Iran security has retaliated against anyone demonstrating causing countless injuries, arrests, and even deaths. According to the Iran Human Rights Organization, there have been a reported 83 deaths from protests and demonstrations. 83 deaths of women and men simply fighting for basic human rights. It is barbaric that anyone should have to lose their life over not having the basic fundamental human rights that everyone deserves. Many journalists have been arrested because they are exposing what happened to Amini. Reporter Elahe Mohammadi who covered Amini’s funeral and journalist Niloufar Hamedi who went to the hospital and subsequently released the information on Amini’s death are both behind bars. Iran shows no signs of stopping either. They continue to harm protestors in an attempt to silence the truths of Iran’s injustice.
It has been speculated that one reason that leader Raisi will not change or hold the morality police accountable is that Iran is struggling greatly as a country. Iran is facing an economic crisis like a lot of countries with inflation, lack of resources, water crisis, etc. It is believed that if Raisi implements change that Iran will lose major conservative supports that are aiding in the country’s survival. This will essentially keep Iran stuck in its conservative ways indefinitely unless Raisi begins now to make strides in joining forces with more modern Western support.
Many are wondering what we can do to help Iran women. First and foremost we need to always remember what happened to Mahsa Amini. Her name needs to be posted, shared, talked about, and discussed. This is not an issue that can fall to the wayside as new issues pop up. There also needs to be more education about Iran, women’s rights, and policies. People are also asking to spread awareness through social media. Content creators and news outlets are suggesting to like every post made about Iran and Iranian women and boost all social media content on the topic. We have seen instances like these in America where nothing has been done until there was an extreme moral outcry from a mass amount of people. It is also well known at least in American culture that the squeaky wheel gets the oil. When Gabby Petito went missing due to her social media following and large public outcry police were forced and pressured into putting out a bigger investigation than normal. It is and was not fair to the other missing person cases that have fallen to the wayside but it is a fact nonetheless and admitted by police that when they get more public pressure, there is a greater response. Now is the time for everyone across the world to be loud and to put pressure on the Iranian government and the United Nations to not only empower them to make a change but to hold them accountable for Amini’s death and all the other women impacted by the brutality in Iran.
We must amplify the voices of Iran women and support them however they need to be supported. Iran is trying to silence women and the country by limiting and even cutting off their internet access. Hoping that the rest of the world will just forget about Mahsa Amini. We will never forget about Mahsa Amini and we stand with the women of Iran.
More Resources on How You Can Help
- Stay loud. Spread awareness and information about Mahsa Amini’s death. You can do so through social media, news outlets, blogs, etc.
- Educate yourself and anyone you know (friends, family, strangers, anyone!) on Mahsa Amini and Iranian topics such as the morality police and injustice towards women.
- You can donate directly to human rights organizations that are focused on helping Iran based in the U.S. including the Center for Human Rights in Iran and Human Rights Activists News Agency. You can also donate to The NCRI Women’s Committee which works with Iranian women outside the country while maintaining close contact with the Iranian women in Iran. Iran