Iran hijab singer angers ultraconservatives

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Winners usually take it all, the prize and the fame. But for 31-year-old Iranian singer Ermia Va Majid, it is a rather different climb to victory and fame.

Ermia was declared the grand winner of the Iranian version of X-Factor, Googosh Academy, which is being filmed and transmitted to Iranian viewers from London by an exiled TV channel.


Taking home a staggering amount of $25,000 during the announcement of winners last Friday, Ermia is now the topic of discussions and forums online – but this is not about money.

Iranians are worried about two major things – the voting system that helped the judges decide and Ermia breaking the Shariah law by singing, especially while wearing the hijab headscarf.

Iranian conservatives are fuming over the fact that the married winner challenging the Islamic restrictions on married women performing and singing in public.

During her final performance, Ermia was shown dressed in a way that covered her whole body – from head to toe – but is still accused for tarnishing Islam’s culture, the Guardian reported.

According to the Iranian 1983 Penal law, bad hijabi is punishable by 74 lashes. Punishment was then reduced to either imprisonment or paying a certain amount of fine in 1996.

Bad hijabi is defined as “uncovered head, showing make-up, uncovered arms and legs, thin and see-through clothes, tight clothes such as trousers without an overall over them, clothes bearing foreign words, signs or pictures, nail varnish, brightly colored clothing and improper modes of body movement or talking,” added a report from the Daily Mail.

There are also speculations about Ermia’s affiliations. The London-based Persian Language Manoto TV channel said on its website that people are wondering if she has ties with the Iranian regime and if the voting system was rigged in favor of her. The channel reported that Emria has always liked singing but never had the courage to showcase her talent. She saw “no contradiction between singing and [the] hijab,” the television reported.

Googosh Academy is aired by Manoto TV and is owned by the Marjan TV Corporation, a company established by exiled couple Kayvan and Marjan Abbassi in the UK.

In order to stop people from watching the TV show, Iranian authorities tried to jam its signals, pushing other citizens to install illegal satellite dishes to be able to get a glimpse of the Academy that has hooked families all over Iran.

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