The headscarf: to wear or not to wear?

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

A battle currently rages in Iran over the Islamic headscarf for women: the hijab. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, it has been mandatory for all women in Iran to wear the headscarf when in public. They can face a fine or arrest otherwise. Many Iranian women are content with the headscarf, and would freely choose to wear it for religious or cultural reasons. But in the past month, a vast number of discontented women have voiced their pain and frustration, caused by the mandatory hijab.

It all began when a young journalist, Masih Alinejad, established a Facebook page called ‘My Stealthy Freedom’ where she invited women to post images of themselves in public without a hijab. The page gathered astonishing momentum, with hundreds sharing photos in the first days. Over 300,000 now follow the page. One lady who shared her own photograph said, “The feeling of the wind blowing through every strand of hair is a girl's biggest dream”. Most of the contributors express similar joy at the freedom they felt in removing their hijab, but many of them also express how fearful of being caught they felt whilst the picture was being taken.

Conservative protestors -both men and women- took to Tehran’s streets last Friday, raised banners and declared "My Stealthy Freedom" to be a conspiracy against Iran by the West. They called for the government to enforce the hijab law and to “stop the spread of vice”. The campaign is yet to generate a reaction from the government.

Pray for

• Greater religious freedom, including choice over religious attire
• More women to learn about their great value in Christ, despite societal inequalities
• Elam’s women’s team as they teach many women about freedom in Christ