‘Pack your bags and go’: Iranian women clash with clerics as anti-hijab protests escalate

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In Iran, women are attacking clerics as anti-hijab protests escalate. After the defiant act of knocking the turbans off the heads of the clerics, women were seen asking the clerics to pack up and leave for asking them to wear the hijab in public.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Nov 10, 2022 3:03 p.m. IST

Protests in Iran were sparked by the death of a 22-year-old woman after she was detained by the country’s vice squad. (Photo: Reuters)

By India Today Web Desk: As protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini continue to grow, Iranian women are mounting a united front against the regime despite resistance from Islamic clerics. After the defiant act of knocking turbans off clerics’ heads and running away, videos emerged of women confronting clerics who order them to wear hijab in public places.

In one viral video, a woman can be heard asking a cleric to ‘mind her business’ as he tells her to ‘dress properly’. In another, a cleric is heard telling a woman to wear the hijab, to which the woman replies, “I won’t, you stupid man,” and leaves.

Protests in Iran, sparked by the death of a 22-year-old woman after she was detained by the country’s vice police, have become one of the biggest sustained challenges to the country’s theocracy since the months following the revolution. Islam of 1979.

‘IT’S MY COUNTRY’

“It’s my country. You can’t tell me where I can have hijab and where not,” a cleric was heard saying in another viral clip.

To this, the cleric replies, “If you don’t like the compulsory veil, go and live with Masih Alinejad in England.” She lives in the United States, not in England, the woman reminds the clergyman.

READ | Iranian security forces target college campuses as anti-hijab protests grow

Iranian dissident and activist Masih Alinejad has lived in exile in the United States since fleeing Iran after the 2009 elections.

“I won’t live abroad. I want to be like that in my own homeland. I want to live free in my own homeland,” another woman is heard saying to a cleric.

READ ALSO | Iranians drop turbans on clerics amid anti-hijab protests

“PACK YOUR LUGGAGE AND GO”

In a clip from a train station, another Iranian woman tells a cleric to pack her bag and leave because she refuses to wear the hijab.

“Enough of you clerics. Pack your bags and go. No one can say what I can and can’t carry. You’ve ruined this country,” the woman says as her voice drowns in applause.

“If you’re excited about a woman’s hair, then you’re the problem. You’ve ruined the country for 40 years. Pack your bags,” another woman told a cleric, asking him to cover his hair.

READ ALSO | What Iran’s anti-hijab protest revealed

The removal of turbans and public opposition from clerics turned into an act of protest after the regime allegedly killed hundreds of protesters. Fear of being accosted in public has even compelled some clerics to avoid wearing their turbans and cloaks in public, The Daily Telegraph reported.

At least 328 people have been killed and 14,825 others arrested in the unrest, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has been monitoring the protests for 54 days. For weeks, the Iranian government has remained silent on casualty figures while state media counterfactually claims security forces killed no one.

READ ALSO | Singers and actors in Iran face prosecution for supporting anti-hijab protests

Online videos from Iran, despite government efforts to suppress the internet, appeared to show protests in Tehran, the capital, as well as other cities across the country. Near Isfahan, a video showed clouds of tear gas. Cries of “Death to the dictator” could be heard – a common chant in protests targeting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

(With AP inputs)

READ ALSO | Iranian leaders in ‘disarray’ struggle to close ranks amid protests, experts say

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