Jailed human rights activist Narges Mohammadi has responded to a new round of pressure by the government of the Islamic Republic to impose mandatory hijab on women, calling it a conspiracy by the country’s theocracy to subjugate women.
“Contrary to claims by the theocracy, covering women’s hair was not meant to ‘protect women's dignity’ and ‘control men's sexual urge’” Mohammadi said in an Instagram message on July 22. “In fact, covering our hair was to preserve tyranny and to satisfy men's dictatorial lust. Now the world is witnessing that women’s ‘power of refusal’ has broken the ‘tyrannical power’ of theocracy.”
“Forced hijab was a conspiracy by the tyrannical government to expand suppression, to institutionalize submission, to enforce (hidden) violence” in order to subjugate women, dominate them and remove them from the public sphere, she continued.
“The fact is that forced hijab is not only a ‘women’s problem;’ it is the problem of the whole society; it is a problem for freedom, for deliverance from tyranny, for justice, for overthrowing injustice and oppression, for realizing peace, democracy and human rights and for getting rid of violence and discrimination. Therefore, nobody can ignore this issue, regardless of creed, ideology and beliefs.
“We, the women, have achieved the historical power and position to bring about revolutionary changes…and we can have no doubt that our power to refuse and to disobey forced hijab would defeat the tyrannical power of theocracy.”
Mohammadi is one of the best-known human rights activists in Iran. She has been harassed, arrested and imprisoned many times and is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence in Tehran’s Evin Prison.
The outspoken activist has received many awards and accolades, including the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize and the Andrei Sakharov Prize of the American Physical Society.