In the space of just a month, Instagram has blocked three separate profiles for Amir Hossein Maghsoudlou, known as Tataloo. Now, the controversial Iranian pop singer has attempted to mobilize his fans on Instagram in aggressive defence of his name.
On April 24, on one of his Instagram profiles, Tataloo had invited underage girls to join his “harem”, which led to the original page being blocked. "The safety of members is our top priority, and we do not tolerate content that abuses or endangers children,” a spokesperson for Facebook, Instagram's parent company, told reporters. “We have blocked Amir Tataloo's account for violating our policies and he will no longer be allowed to appear on Instagram." Tataloo has since tried twice to resurrect his Instagram page under aliases but these were subsequently blocked as well.
Now, in an audio file posted to his Telegram channel, he can be heard laughing while defending paedophilia again.
“What I discussed was legitimate by the laws of our country and our religion. It is in our religion that you can have four concubines and 40... no... four wives and 40 concubines. Also, marriage above the age of nine is allowed in Islam. But I said 15 to 16 years of age. Then I said with the consent of the parents, so that there would be no controversy. These guys quoted ’15 to 16’ first even though, in our religion, it is OK for nine-year-old girls to marry. And I said 15-year-old. Why? Because today’s 15-year-olds are much more intelligent and, God bless them, more ladylike, and have gained every kind of maturity. They tell me that I am a child abuser. A 15-year-old is a child? This is ugly. This is an insult to our teenagers.”
While uttering these words, Amir Tataloo is laughing. Other people can be heard in the background who cheer him on as he speaks.
In the audio message, Tataloo also says he is writing to Instagram to try to change its policy and, perhaps, make it what he terms compatible with Islam. He does not appear to be be well-informed about the law of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is based on Islamic jurisprudence but has also changed over the years.
“Invade” Instagram to Defend Pedophilia
Tataloo’s original Instagram page had more than four million followers. A number of them promoted his original call for children to join his “harem” and attacked other social media users who raised the alarm.
After Instagram blocked Tataloo’s page, he responded that he would call his next song “Harem” and the same week did indeed publish a song with this title on YouTube and Telegram. His two alternate profiles, under the aliases “Mammad11228” and “Mashallah”, were also both shut down in less than 24 hours.
Tataloo has 118 thousand followers on YouTube and close to 1.3 followers on Telegram. But it seems he is still seeking to return to Instagram: the only social media platform not presently blocked or filtered in Iran, where young people make up the bulk of his audience.
“I want the Tatalities [Tataloo fans] to do something else for me,” the singer says in his audio message. “At a certain hour that I’ll let you know about, each fan... can create an Amir Tataloo fan page with my picture on it. Invade Instagram all at the same time and do it to Instagram’s mother. At the same time, we’re sending a letter to Instagram to say that what was said was compatible with our laws and our religion.”
He then defends marrying children, taking them as concubines and having sexual relations with them based on Islamic law.
Is Tataloo Right About Islamic Law?
Even in Islamic jurisprudence and between religious commentators, marriageable age is a controversial topic. For many years human rights activists and defenders of women and children’s rights have accused the Islamic Republic of promoting child marriage. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, marriageable age for girls was set at nine – but after years of efforts by campaigners this was increased to 13. Amir Tataloo appears to be blissfully unaware of this.
Some religious authorities say that girls can marry only if they are “physically mature”: when they begin to menstruate, which varies from one individual to the next. But campaigners argue that the emphasis on girls’ physical maturity allows them to be exploited. In Iran, they continue to fight to see the age of marriageability for girls hiked up to to 18, so that these young women are both physically and mentally mature and can differentiate between right and wrong themselves.
Amir Tataloo does not seem troubled by this. The blocking of his Instagram page might have given him pause to contemplate the rights of women and children. Instead, he is using what he claims is Islamic jurisprudence to defend himself and mock his critics.
This behavior on social media could well lead to legal consequences for the singer. The scandal has been raised at sittings of the Iranian parliament and amplified in the media in Turkey, where he now lives. In recent months the Turkish parliament has also held numerous discussions about the rights of children.
Tataloo’s invitation to thousands of fans to “invade” Instagram to defend pedophilia and child marriage may be a signifier of basic ignorance, or a lack of sympathy or even disdain for children’s rights: not only on the part of Iranian celebrities but in some parts of wider Iranian society. There is also the danger that underage girls might genuinely be lured by his distorted notion of “freedom” and fall into a trap for which they have not been prepared.
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