Iran’s moral police are at the center of ongoing protests raging across the country after the suspicious death of a young woman in custody in September. A senior Iranian official allegedly claimed in early December that the country had “dismantled” its moral police force. new york times However, there are conflicting reports suggesting that, in fact, “officials in the Islamic Republic of Iran did not say the Guidance Patrol was closed.” Nonetheless, many are skeptical, saying that even if true, the government’s move was “too little, too late.”
The Morality Police exists to enforce Iran’s strict dress code, which requires Iranian women to cover their hair. Below is a list of supposed signs of moral vices that Tehran’s rulers and moral police are trying to eradicate.
1. Exposed hair
In September, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in moral police custody after being arrested for not wearing a proper head covering, known as the hijab. Allegations over her cause of death sparked public outrage and sparked protests across Tehran and Iran.Support for the movement spread internationally, resulting in protesters being named time2022 Person of the Year.
Amid ongoing unrest, the status of the moral police remains uncertain, despite proposals to the contrary from senior officials. Jafar Montazeri was quoted as saying the police were “closed from where they were set up”. However, the Iranian government recently denied claims that it plans to disband the moral police.
2. Water gun
In August 2014, hundreds of boys and girls took part in a water gun fight organized through Facebook to escape the summer heat in a Tehran park. Religious conservatives protested and some participants were arrested. This kind of mixing of unrelated men and women is not expected in Iran. “They acted against social norms,” declared Ahmad Rouzbehani, head of Tehran’s morality police. One boy who was dragged in reportedly admitted that the wet war was “much more intimate than it should have been.”
3. Dance in Kindergarten
Iran has also reportedly banned dance lessons in kindergartens. Welfare group head Ahmad Esfandiari told the news site. Aftab Teaching young children to twirl and bounce was immoral and an affront to Islamic values. He suggested that increasing it would make it more ‘Koranic’.
4. Ankle reveal
In 2010, a YouTube user posted a video depicting two morality police officers trying to arrest a woman who appeared in public wearing a costume that exposed her ankles. The woman, who had her head covered as per her custom, fought back and she was eventually released.
5. Dress chic
Members of the moral police frequently chastise and even arrest women for wearing clothing they deem obscene. In November 2014, 70 of her fashion designers were arrested for selling “inappropriate” dresses and over 400 shops were closed. The graphic designer, who identifies himself only by his first name Asal, said: Washington Post Hardliners must recognize that fashion trends are changing, whether they like it or not. “At first, we weren’t allowed to wear boots, but now many women wear them,” Asal said. “I was always told I had to close my coat, but now I unbutton it. This is a big change in our traditional society.”
6. Snow skiing
As the 2015 ski season kicked off in Iran’s Alborz Mountains, the Morality Police issued a new warning banning women and girls from skiing unless accompanied by a husband, father or brother. It was part of a tough effort to roll back reforms under former President Muhammad Khatami, which the current government said had led to a disregard for religious dress codes and other traditions. Iran’s ski resorts functioned as “a kind of refuge from Islamic dress codes and laws against mixing boys and girls,” says Thomas Erdbrink . Washington PostOne catch: Wealthy young Iranians ski far better than moral police.
Barbie is considered a classic example of “harmful Western culture eroding Islamic values,” says Mitra Amiri. ReutersIranian authorities are instead selling Sara and Dara dolls in traditional clothing. One of her 38-year-old Iranian mothers said her daughter considers Sarah and Dara “ugly and fat”, saying: “[she] I prefer Barbie dolls,” said one Tehran shopkeeper. Reuters “We still sell Barbie dolls, but covertly,” the store owner said, adding that traditional Iranian dolls were “put in the window to trick the police into thinking we only sold this kind of dolls.” .
Updated December 6, 2022: This article has been updated to reflect the latest news regarding protests against Iran’s morality police.