Today on the streets of Jaffa, where I live, I saw for the first time in my life a woman in hijab (helmet on top) driving her motorbike in full throttle along Jerusalem Boulevard. She was too quick for me (on my peddle bike!) to take a photo. I was pretty proud of her, because although Muslim women in Israel can be quite liberal, this was something that broke all stereotypes.
But in Iran it’s another story… women who are not wearing the traditional headscarves, also known as hijab, are now being blamed for devastating drought.
Ayatollah Yousef Tabatabai-Nejad, an arch conservative prayer leader in the city of Isfahan announced that Iranian women who continue to wear immodest clothing are causing the nation’s rivers to run dry. They are also damaging the environment in other ways, the cleric has claimed.
A strict Islamic dress code must be enforced, he mandated, to ward off drought. In media reports this same cleric, also suggested the use of acid attacks, and the whip on “bad hijab” women: those who are not properly covered up.
Last month he roiled against a new trend where Iranian women are taking selfies without the headscarf and posting them online.
“They have brought me pictures that shows women by the side of the dry Zayanderud river, ” the cleric said. “These actions will ensure the upper stream of the river will become dry too. Believe me it is true.”In some paradoxical nonsense he also said:
“You may ask yourself why European countries with so much crime and sin have so much rainfall … God punishes the believer, for remaining silent and letting girls take pictures by the river as if they were in European countries.”
Headscarfs have been compulsory since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Those who can get away with it bend the rules.
Thousands of women have posted pictures of themselves without headscarves on the Facebook page, My Stealthy Freedom.