Mahsa Amini Protest

Visiting London Reveals Turmoil in Iran

The Streets of London during the Mahsa Amini protests.
November 14, 2022

   Upon vacationing with my family and newlywed wife, we found ourselves in London, England. London is beautiful and very much like America. An appealing city, London is the closest we could think of compared to America. They have similar food, similar language, similar everything…similar rights.

    I guess English rights mirror America because one followed the other. We have a history. Their legal system is familiar to Americans. If there is an injustice in England, you stand up and voice your opinion. Most of the time, you will be heard. Just work the system.

   We took an Uber to Big Ben and saw something familiar but unexpected. People were in the streets, holding banners. They were shouting. They were very passionate about something, and they were marching. They were protesting. Protesting like in Oakland when George Floyd was murdered. Check out the pictures. It was a massive group of people. Upon exiting the Uber, we were immediately caught up in the excitement. What were they protesting?

   We took pictures along the way. We were on our way to a boat ride through the Thames. It was a nice ride, but I can’t tell you all the sights we saw. I remember the London bridge, the drinking lions, a pub along the river but that’s about it. The sun was setting as we rode; a beautiful sight. I can, however, tell you what the protest was about: Mahsa Amini. I know; the first thing that hit my mind was: who is Mahsa Amini?

   “On 16 September 2022, a 22-year-old Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini, also known as Jina Amini, died in a hospital in Tehran, Iran under suspicious circumstances. The Guidance Patrol, the religious morality police of Iran's government, arrested Amini for not wearing the hijab in accordance with government standards.”

   My next question was: why is this protest happening in London? Here is an article that may introduce an answer. The report covers the danger of protesting in Iran. It’s complicated, and here’s another piece. However, this complication led to more questions:

   In Iran, why do women have to wear a hijab?

   “The Islamic Republic of Iran was founded after the 1979 overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty by the Islamic Revolution, and its legal code is based on Islamic law or sharia, although many aspects of civil law have been retained, and it is integrated into a civil law legal system.”

   On top of that…

“Wearing hijab became obligatory for all Iranian women from April 1983. Since then, all women have been legally obliged to wear hijab in public, even non-Muslims and foreigners visiting Iran.”

   What is it like to visit Iran?

"Iran has customs that may take some getting used to, so it’s essential to learn about them before you go so you don’t accidentally offend or disrespect anyone. Some of the most common ones that throw tourists off are":

  • Women must wear hijabs (headscarves) at all times in public. They must also wear loose-fitting clothes that don’t show their figure.

  • Men can wear short-sleeved shirts, but long pants must be worn at all times.

  • Men and women who aren’t related shouldn’t touch either. That means no shaking hands or hugging someone of the opposite sex.

  • If you are traveling with your significant other, avoid any public displays of affection.​

   There’s an exception to this rule, though, and if you are from Canada, the UK, or the USA, we have some bad news for you…You can only visit Iran if you join a guided tour, so there is no chance of getting a VOA and traveling independently. Your tour company will help organize your visa for you."

Why do Muslim women wear a hijab? Here’s another article.

"Across the world, the hijab is a personal religious choice made by women. In Iran, however, it was transformed into a symbol of oppression and marginalization. Therefore, the current rejection of the hijab by Iranian protesters does not necessarily equal a rejection of Islam or Islamic values.

 

22-year-old Mahsa Amini was arrested in Tehran for “improperly” wearing her hijab. She was detained, beaten into a coma, and died three days later on September 16th, 2022. Since then, protests have taken place in solidarity with Mahsa Amini.

 

The Iranian government insisted that Amini died from a heart attack. Still, reports indicate she died from a skull fracture due to heavy blows to the head."

   In Iran, what is the Guidance Patrol?

   The Guidance Patrol: Islamic religious police or Islamic vice squad police agencies that enforce religious observance and public morality on behalf of national or regional authorities based on their interpretation of sharia.

   Why should Americans care about Iranian women?

   The protests are about more than an article of clothing. It’s about overthrowing a regime. They are calling for an end to more than 40 years of theocracy. 

   What does it mean to suppress women in society?

   Explaining the Suppression of Women: Central to the field of women's studies is the concept of female suppression, which means the interlocking complex of lower status and limited opportunities for women, as compared with men, in the spheres of law, education, the economy, and social power.

   Suppression is about protection. The fear of pain is suppression. 

Daniel Micko, 770 Publishing