World No Hijab Day: An Iranian Journalist’s Moving Testimony Against Islamic Fundamentalism

This Tuesday, February 1, the world hijab day, a campaign that was born in 2013 to encourage women of all religions to wear the hijab or veil as a sign of support for Muslim women. Nevertheless, On the contrary, there are those who demand the international day “without hijab” to raise awareness about the conditions in which women from the Middle East live under the strict Sharia law.

One of the main promoters in the Iranian journalist Masih Alinejadwho on Monday shared a moving testimony against Islamic fundamentalism.

“For this simple act of protest, for this peaceful protest, for dreaming of having a ‘World Hijab Day’ in Iran, in Afghanistan, for feeling the wind in my hair, for giving a voice to women who have no media in Iran, I receive daily death threats”, He pointed out on his social networks the 44-year-old Iranian-American communicator.

The forceful message was accompanied by a moving video in which the veil -or hijab- is removed as a sign of protest against the strict law in force in your country.

This is what the Islamic Republic wants it to be. This is what the Taliban and ISIS want us to be”, she expresses with the veil on. Then she takes it off and says: “This is the real me”.

“In Iran they told me that if I take off my hijab they will hang me by my hair for God’s sake. I am expelled from school, whipped, imprisoned, fined, beaten up in the street by the ‘moral police’ every day. If I get raped, it’s my fault. If I take off my hijab, I will not be able to exist as a woman in my country.”relates Alinejad, one of the most critical voices of the ayatollahs’ regime, who was told last year by intelligence agents from the Islamic Republic tried to kidnap in the United StatesWhere he lives.

“In the West, they tell me that if I share my stories, I will cause Islamophobia. I am a woman from the Middle East and I am afraid of Islamic laws; I am afraid of all the brutalities that I have experienced, ”she adds in her crude account. And she concludes: “The phobia is an irrational fear, but my fear and that of many other women living under sharia law in the Middle East is rational. So let us talk.”

Iran is one of the countries where the use of hijab for women is strictly governed (EFE) (ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH/)

In Arabic, “sharia” derives from a word meaning the way, or “the clear and well traveled path to the water.” But nevertheless, in practice it is understood, interpreted and applied differently around the worldaccording to the different traditions, cultural contexts and the role of Islam in government.

There are those who have a more flexible position, while there are also those who support harsh punishments, such as cutting off the hands of thieves or stoning people who commit adultery. Others, meanwhile, promote the execution of apostates.

Within the framework of this strict law, a controversial issue in the eyes of the West is the role of women in the muslim world.

For example, the woman is obliged to hide her beauty from those who are not her “maharim”, which would be those people between whom the marriage would be illegitimate for reasons of kinship. In the same way, he cannot greet men who are not “maharim”, nor being alone with a stranger.

As established by the sharia, the Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim man, and with the permission of her current protector. Once married, her protector becomes her husband. Men, meanwhile, are allowed to have more than one woman.

Journalist Alinejad Masih shows an FBI car guarding the outside of her apartment after Iranian agents tried to kidnap her (Photo: Twitter)
Journalist Alinejad Masih shows an FBI car guarding the outside of her apartment after Iranian agents tried to kidnap her (Photo: Twitter) (TWITTER/@ALINEJADMASIH/)

In case you want to get divorced, the woman must have the consent of her husband and, at the same time, pay her dowry. If she commits adultery, she faces death by lashing or stoning.

Furthermore, she is subject to punishment after the testimony of four righteous men, or three righteous men and two righteous women.

The feminine word has no value. The crimes established by the sharia, such as homosexuality, adultery, drinking alcohol and fighting against the Islamic regime, can only be proven by men. If a woman witnessed a rape or robbery, she has no right to testify. If she does, she will be subjected to 80 lashes.

Beauty and clothing is also an issue to take into account when following Sharia law.

Based on Islamic law commandments, honor killings have also been recorded. That is, those homicides committed in retaliation for dishonoring one’s family. The UN estimates that thousands of women are killed each year in the name of family honor.

The female genital mutilation, child and adolescent marriages, polygamy, and sexist inheritance rules, they also arouse strong controversy in the world.

Regarding the use of the hijab, countries such as Iran and Afghanistan force women to wear it when they are outside their home. And, although in most Muslim countries governments do not force its use on women, conservative families do impose it after puberty.

A controversial issue in the eyes of the West is the role of women in the Muslim world (REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes)
A controversial issue in the eyes of the West is the role of women in the Muslim world (REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes) (GONZALO FUENTES/)

“Hijab” in Arabic means “barrier” or “partition”. There are many variants of this garment. “Hijab” is used to refer to the concept of covering in general, and to a veil or scarf that covers a woman’s head and hair. But there are also niqab and burqa, which also cover the woman’s face. Both have a small difference: the “niqab” has an opening for the eyes, while the burqa has a screen over that opening.

The latter are commonly used in countries such as Arabian Saudi Y Afghanistan.

Social networks play a fundamental role in this fight against Islamic fundamentalism. Activism for and against the use of hijab has grown in recent years, including a wide debate between “World Hijab Day” and “No Hijab Day”.

In 2019, Yasmine Mohammed, a Canadian writer and women’s rights activist, decided to create “No Hijab Day”, also on February 1 every year. On that day, ask women to share photos of themselves with and without hijab along with their personal stories, just as Alinejad did this Monday.

Mohammed explained that he decided to promote this initiative when he saw that the hijab was presented as a symbol of freedom by the “islamist propaganda”. “They don’t even want to acknowledge the fact that women are put in jail, have their faces disfigured, lose their families, their friends and their communities, and are threatened with death or killed for their hijab.”

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