Iran steps up policing of Islamic dress - report

TEHRAN Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:08pm IST

An Iranian woman sits on the southern beach on the island of Kish in the Persian Gulf 1250 km south of Tehran August 4, 2008. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

An Iranian woman sits on the southern beach on the island of Kish in the Persian Gulf 1250 km south of Tehran August 4, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl

Related Topics

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran has doubled the number of police assigned to its more than year-long crackdown against women flouting Islamic dress codes, Kargozaran newspaper said on Wednesday.

The daily gave no figures but the report, as well as remarks made by a police official to Reuters on Wednesday, indicate the authorities' determination to press ahead with the longest clampdown against "immoral behaviour" in recent years.

The latest campaign began in mid-2007. Such strict codes were tightly enforced in the early years after the 1979 Islamic revolution but in more recent years campaigns have tended to last just weeks or months at most.

"The crackdown on non-Islamic hijab (Muslim veil) will continue until the society is clean of any immoralities," Kargozaran quoted a police statement as saying.

The dress code requires women to cover their hair and wear long, loose clothes to disguise the shape of their bodies.

Violators can receive lashes, fines or imprisonment, although most usually receive a stern warning by street patrols looking for women with veils that are pushed back to show too much hair or coats which are not long enough or too tight.

Kargozaran quoted the head of Iran's airports police as saying 128 women had been prevented from taking their flights because of "bad hijab". It did not give dates and said the figure for those stopped had been published previously.

Enforcement of strict moral codes governing women's dress became more strict after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad swept to power in 2005 with the backing of revolutionary loyalists, such as the Basij religious militia.

Analysts say the authorities are wary of outward expressions of defiance against the system, particularly when the country is under Western pressure over its disputed nuclear programme.

Dissent has been swiftly stamped on -- whether by students, women activists or labour union officials -- for fear that opposition could gain momentum, the analysts say.

Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi said this month the crackdown will intensify after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, although he did not elaborate.

"The police regards the crackdown on immoral behaviour which includes fighting bandits, drug smugglers and people with improper clothing, as an inseparable part of its responsibilities," police spokesman Mehdi Ahmadi told Reuters.

"Police will continue with the plan as before," he added, declining to give details of police numbers.

In addition to women flouting the dress codes, police have have stopped men with spiky haircuts deemed "Western". Barber shops have been temporarily shut for offering such haircuts.

Police even launched a crackdown in May on small, private firms that fail to enforce strict dress codes on their premises.

FILED UNDER:

Reuters Showcase

Countering China

Countering China

PM Modi to ramp up help for Indian Ocean nations to counter China influence  Full Article 

'India's Daughter'

'India's Daughter'

Society created Delhi gang rape convicts: Filmmaker Leslee Udwin.  Full Article | Related Story 

Kohli Censured

Kohli Censured

BCCI warns Virat Kohli against repeat of misbehaviour.  Full Article 

MUDRA Bank

MUDRA Bank

Funding the unfunded: India helps small business borrow to grow  Full Article 

PML(N)'s Hope

PML(N)'s Hope

Pakistan's ruling party looks for gains in upper house election  Full Article 

For Women's Right

For Women's Right

Afghan men don burqas, take to the streets for women's rights.  Full Article 

U.S. Envoy Attacked

U.S. Envoy Attacked

Knife-wielding attacker slashes face of U.S. ambassador in South Korea  Full Article 

New Strategy

New Strategy

Ashwin mulls 'one-sided' ploy against big-hitters.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage