A newly launched smartphone app is helping young Iranians avoid the morality police on Tehran’s streets. Iran's feared ‘Gasht-e Ershad’ (morality police) patrol Tehran to identify men and women who violate Iran’s moral codes. Now, the ‘Gershad’ app is using crowd-sourcing to map the locations of each squadron, so that ordinary Iranians can avoid crossing paths with them.
The morality police most often target women deemed to be wearing too much makeup or the wrong headscarf. But anyone playing the wrong kind of music, or sporting the wrong fashions could also be pulled over. When stopped, individuals are often thrown in the back of the police van, sworn at, verbally abused and humiliated. Some end up detained, fined or prosecuted.
Oppression hangs over Iran like a constant cloud. But technology like the Gershad app is proof that ordinary Iranians are resourceful and determined to stay one step ahead. This resourceful spirit is also seen when countless Iranians cleverly dodge censorship in order to access websites and internet platforms where they can ask their questions about religion, and encounter Christians.