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Iranian President’s Wife Praises Islamic Misogyny
Extols forced hijab and draconian punishments.
By Hugh Fitzgerald
Held in psychic thrall by the mind-forged manacles of Islam, the wife of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, in an interview with Newsweek, praises the imposition of the hijab and the new draconian punishments for those who violate the Islamic dress code. More on her defense of Islamic misogyny can be found here: “‘Iranian Women Already Enjoy Their Rights,’ President’s Wife Claims as Tehran Regime Introduces Stricter Dress Code,” by Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, September 21, 2023:
…Jamileh Alamolhoda — the wife of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a close ally of the country’s aging “Supreme Leader”, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — told Newsweek that it was “very exciting and interesting that women in Iran have not fought for their rights because they already enjoy their rights.”…
Apparently Alamolhoda failed to notice the nationwide demonstrations by women, set off by the murder of Mahsa Amini, when by the tens of thousands they ripped off their hijabs in public, often setting them on fire, to protest being forced to wear them. They’ve been fighting for their right not to wear the hijab, but have been crushed — many arrested and imprisoned, and some even killed, during their protests — by the malevolent enforcers of the Islamic Republic. Those women beg to differ with Alamolhoda; they certainly do not feel, as she preposterously claims, that they are “already enjoying their rights.”
In Alamolhoda’s view, women lack agency; it is the men who, by punishing women who violate the Islamic dress code, are “preserving their [female] dignity in society.” Women have “the right to wear a hijab,” a right their menfolk will enforce, but no right not to wear a hijab. They lack the right to choose. That is a most peculiar conception of “rights.”
Alamolhoda appears not to have noticed those nationwide demonstrations against the regime, prompted by the death of Mahsa Amini, who had been killed by the morality police for wearing her hijab incorrectly. Indeed, Amini’s dea was not mentioned once during the Newsweek interview, either by Alamolhoda or by the reporter with whom she conversed. We know why Alamolhoda wouldn’t want to mention it, but what possible excuse did the reporter for Newsweek have for not bringing it up?
The parliamentarians voted by 152 to 34 to pass the “Hijab and Chastity Bill,” which says that women who are caught dressed “inappropriately” in public places will be subject to a “fourth degree” punishment.
According to the penal code, that means a prison sentence of between five and 10 years and a fine of between 180m and 360m rials ($3,651-$7,302).
The bill also proposes fines for those “promoting nudity” or “making fun of the hijab” in the media and on social networks, and for owners of vehicles in which a female driver or passenger is not wearing the hijab or appropriate clothing, according to the AFP news agency.
This new law imposes draconian punishments on women who fail to observe the dress code, so that even a hijab that is worn, but imperfectly tied, could lead to a sentence of from five to ten years in prison as well as what, for Iranians, is a huge fine. And not only that: the owner of a vehicle, who may not even be present when the driver of, or a passenger in, the vehicle is discovered to not be wearing a hijab, can himself be subject to a stiff fine.
Any person who promotes violating the dress code “in an organized manner” or “in co-operation with foreign or hostile governments, media, groups or organizations” could also be imprisoned for between five and 10 years, the law asserts.
Asked about Western criticism of Iran’s repression of women, Alamolhoda answered: “I have to admit that they do not know much about Iran. That is the cause of the misunderstanding. They’ve not dove into the vast depth of the relation between women and the populace. That is why they regard women with a Western lens.”
Western criticism of Iran’s misogynistic regime would be far more severe if the West knew the full extent of women’s mistreatment. Few in the West know that Iranian fathers can engage in honor killings of supposedly wayward daughters without incurring punishment; that a husband can “beat” his wife if he even suspects her of disobedience; that women’s testimony in court is worth half that of a man; that daughters inherit only half of what a son inherits; that a husband can take up to four wives at a time, a practice which demeans women; that a husband can divorce his wife by merely uttering the triple talaq.
She [Raisi’s wife] also claimed that the “feminist movement from other parts of the world has also not found its way in Iran, and that is primarily due to the fact that it is inclined toward violence. As opposed to that, women in Iran prefer tranquility rather than being exposed to violence through the feminist approach.” Alamolhoda did not, however, provide any examples of “violence” instigated by feminists or their sympathizers.
She’s quite wrong. The feminist movement in its original, legitimate form, did nothing more than insist on the complete legal and social equality of the sexes and it has taken root in the minds and hearts of a great many Iranian girls and women who obey the Islamic dress code only under extreme duress — what is, the constant threat of a long prison sentence. In its Iranian version, feminism is not violent, as Alamolhoda suggests, unless one wants to label removal of a hijab as “violent.” Indeed, she offers no examples of violence by Iranian girls and women.
In a separate interview with ABC News, Alamolhoda said that the “hijab was a tradition, was a religiously mandated tradition, accepted widely. And now for years, it has been turned into a law. And breaking of the law, trampling upon any laws, just like in any country, comes with its own set of punishments.”
The hijab is not mentioned by name in the Qur’an. Various hadiths counseling a “modest” dress have been interpreted by many Muslim scholars — as those who now rule in Iran — as mandating the wearing of the hijab. But in more than half of the 57 Muslim-majority countries, the wearing of the hijab is not mandatory. Alamolhada supports the “right” of women to wear the hijab, and the new draconian punishments, just passed, that enforce that “right” even more severely than before. But she does not support the “right” of girls and women to decide for themselves whether to wear the hijab. That would be going too far. Women might begin to claim they should be treated as equal to men. And that would never do. Just look at the decadent West, with its sky-high divorce rates and broken families, an entire society that does not know where to put its feet and hands — while we, the women of Iran, lead lives of perfect contentment and security.”
Of course, it helps to be the wife of the president.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons