Iran: Women risk jail, whipping for removing head scarf

Photo: “This is me committing a crime,” wrote a girl who posted an image of herself sitting in the middle of a secluded road in Nour Forest in northern Iran, with her headscarf resting on her shoulder.

In a nation whose citizens are figuratively scared to death of the tax collectors, over 100 women are putting their freedom where their mouths are by taking a very public stand against the Islamic Republic of Iran by simply removing their headscarves (hijabs). As reported by News Corp Australia on May 14, 2014, well over 100 women in the Islamic Republic have posted their photographs on a social network site that very well could be the catalyst for ensuring they could be fined, jailed, flogged, or any combination thereof.

Aptly but clumsily translated as Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women, (“stealthly” could also be loosely translated as “hidden”), the newly minted Facebook site openly displays numerous Persian women who have made the decision to defy the country’s Shari’a Law system by openly showing images of them, sans hijab.

With Iran’s feared Shari’a morality enforcement police, officially titled Sazmane Basij-e Mostaz’afin, literally “The Organization for Mobilization of the Oppressed” but popularly known as simply the Basij, are the eyes and ears of the ayatollahs and mullahs in Tehran to ensure The Islamic Penal Code of Iran is strictly adhered to. As noted by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (, the 13.6 million men, women and children who comprise the Basij are “present in schools, universities, state and private institutions, factories, and even among tribes.”

As also cited, “Basij members act as ‘morality police’ in towns and cities by enforcing the wearing of the hijab; arresting women for violating the dress code; prohibiting male-female fraternization; monitoring citizens’ activities; confiscating satellite dishes and ‘obscene’ material; intelligence gathering; and even harassing government critics and intellectuals.”

Despite the risk of the monetary fine for women who appear in public without donning a proper hijab of 50,000 to 500,000 ryals ($1.96 to $19.58), it appears that more than a few Iranian women have had enough of the national dress code that only applies to the fairer sex.

In a nation where the GDP per capita is a mere $7,217 (184,286,095 ryals), the maximum fine is roughly a full day’s pay. In the case where one of the hundreds of Shari’a courts deem the fine is insufficient, the nation’s penal code also authorizes that a guilty woman “should be imprisoned from ten days to two months.” Dependent upon one any given judge’s interpretation of Islamic law, the offending female could also face upwards of 74 lashes.