The disbanding of Iran’s morality police after a massive uprising, is a victory for the brave women of Iran who led the nationwide anti-hijab protests. It proves that no country, no matter how long it tries and how hard it tries, can repress its citizens. Despite brutal oppression, the Iranian women carried out a sustained and spirited campaign against the mandatory enforcement of the Islamic dress code. The ultra-conservative regime has finally caved in and defanged the morality police, tasked with implementing the dress code.
Iran has seen widespread protests for more than two months following the death of a young woman Mahsa Amini in police custody in September. She was arrested for allegedly violating the female dress code. Over 300 people have been killed in police action as demonstrators burned their head coverings and shouted anti-government slogans. Since Amini’s death, a growing number of women have not been observing hijab. The hijab became mandatory four years after the 1979 revolution that overthrew the US-backed monarchy and established the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran’s efforts to enforce these rules became even more organized in the mid-2000s after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president. The present regime, headed by ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisi, called for the mobilisation of all state institutions to enforce the headscarf law. The dress code for women became an ideological pillar of the ruling clerical establishment and is central to its identity. However, the strong resistance by the womenfolk made them surrender. This is a small but significant victory for Iranian women. Hope it inspires women of the Muslim world to stand up and fight for their rights.