Thinker's Chronicle

Mahsa Amini and Iran’s Morality Police

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Twenty two-year-old Iranian citizen Mahsa Amini died on September 16 after being detained by Iran’s “morality police.” The morality police, officially known as Tehran’s Guidance Patrol, was established in 2005 and is a segment of the police force that is tasked with ensuring Islamic dress code in public. 

Amini was arrested 3 days before her death by the morality police for improperly wearing her hijab. The exact laws regarding when and how women need to wear head coverings are extremely vague, causing public outrage regarding how the police interpret immodest wear. Amini’s father explains how his son and other witnesses told him that his daughter was beaten in police custody. Iran’s official coroner disagrees, stating that it was not a physical attack that caused her death but an underlying condition. Refusing to believe this story about his daughter’s death, Amjad Amini points out that his daughter was not in bad health and that her death must be brought to justice. 

The Response

In wide, outspoken criticism against the morality police and the Iranian government’s regulations, women across the nation have risen up to call out Amini’s death by cutting their hair and burning hijabs. Business owners in Iran went on strike as protests spilled into the streets. The strength of the protests have spread to an international level, with people all over the globe bringing the injustice to light.

According to Iranian American author Pardis Mahdavi,

“The protests not only show no sign of decreasing, but what we’re seeing actually are increased generations out there protesting. Some of the images that we were seeing yesterday are of young schoolgirls, even, resisting, protesting, adding their voice to the protests. And to me, it’s interesting to see this generation, this is the generation born after the 2000s who were born into resistance, these are young people who are building on the decades’ worth of work that… feminists, women and men, have been doing since the revolution.”

Against the Iranian Republic

The protests behind Mahsa Amini’s death have been some of the largest in the present Islamic republic. The Times reports that the protests have spread to over 80 cities in Iran with police forces using tear gas and bullets to fight protestors. The Iran Human Rights organization sets the death toll at 201 people since the beginning of the demonstrations. This anger against the Iranian government, in particular the president Ebrahim Raisi, has been developing for a while, with many Iranians feeling that the ultra-conservative leader is not focusing on the major issues plaguing Iran––including a water crisis, a falling economy, and government corruption. The Internet in Iran has been disrupted to pull the oxygen from the raging protests. Instagram and WhatsApp have also been restricted as news of the protests spreads internationally.

The protests show no signs of weakening, and the Iranian government will have to meet the consequences of years of repression. 

By: Advika Rajeev