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Azadeh Namdari Protests Laws Mandating the Hijab

On July 24, a video of Iranian state television presenter, Azadeh Namdari, emerged featuring the television host enjoying time with her family while drinking beer on her vacation in Switzerland. The video shows Namdari without her hijab, which has sparked major controversy.  

According to Independent, “Islamic dress codes are strictly enforced by ‘morality police’ in the country and women’s hair and body must be covered in public. Wearing the hijab, a head covering worn in public by Muslim women, is compulsory.”

In the past, Namdari has been a proud supporter of wearing her hijab. In 2014, she was pictured in an Iranian newspaper with a headline stating, “Thank God, I wear the veil.”

“The TV presenter has also been a keen proponent of the black chador which is a large piece of cloth that covers women from head to toe and leaves only the face exposed. It has been extolled by conservatives for offering women the best protection.”

Since the video of her without her hijab was released, she has been criticized and called a hypocrite. Namdari explained that she was sitting in a park with family members and “maharem – close relatives who a woman is not required to wear a hijab among.” She stated that the scarf fell off and the video was captured by someone.

In defense of Namdari, a young girl has released her opinions on the Islamic dress codes. In a video, the girl, who is unnamed, defends her belief on why she should not have to wear a hijab in Iran if she chooses not to, according to another Independent article.

“It would be good for everyone to live in peace…Those who believe in the hijab and those who don’t believe in it. I’m not telling you to take off your chador, not to respect the hijab…You can’t force others to wear a chador.”

The young girl defends the freedom to choose whether women wear hijabs and chadors as opposed to the dress codes, which require women to do so unless they want to face fines and imprisonment. She says that it is her choice to decide if she wants to wear any coverings.

“I could decide to keep my shawl. But we have to respect other people’s ideas, I think.” This young girl urges open-mindedness with regards to the freedom of women to decide how to dress.

The video was posted by My Stealthy Freedom, “an online social movement that was started by Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad on May 3, 2014.” The movement believes that wearing a hijab should be a choice, not a requirement.

“To address this issue, we created a Facebook page where women from inside Iran could share photos of themselves not wearing their hijabs. Our website is a living archive of the photos and videos shared with us by these brave women, and the media coverage (both good and bad) that we receive from inside and outside Iran.”

My Stealthy Freedom and the young girl believe strongly in the right of women to choose what they wear. They are not urging for the abolition of headwear and scarves, but rather the ability for women to decide if they want to wear these articles and exercise their freedoms.

Featured Image by Haifeez on Flickr
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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