Ali Motahari, the deputy speaker of Iran’s parliament, called for a nationwide referendum about the compulsory wearing of the hijab (headscarf) on Monday, adding that he was positive the results would be for the hijab.
Mathari’s open support for the hijab coincides with the yearly anniversary of the creation of the campaign to remove compulsory hijab in Iran, which was started by women who started taking off their hijabs in public squares across the country, and were faced by violence and arrests.
Motahari, who has a hardline stance about the hijab in Iran, claimed that it is not really being forced upon women inside Iran.
“If a referendum is held in Iran, the Iranian society will vote for the hijab themselves”, a member of the Iranian Parliament Committee on Culture had said in a speech.
Motahari’s statements about hijab come while most of Iranian women are starting to wear clothes that differ from what the regime officially promotes as “proper dress” for the past four decades.
Since last year, Iranian women started a campaign against obligatory hijab. They had published videos and photos showing them taking off their hijab in public squares, which was widely circulated on social media.
Iran’s clerics panic
Iran’s traditional Marja, like Naser Makarem Shirazi, Noori Hamedani and Ja'far Sobhani had previously complained of what they called (the bad Hijab) in Iran.
Iran’s Research Center of Islamic legislative Assembly had issued a report based on opinion polls, stating that commitment to legitimate hijab has become less among young people and university graduates.
Ahmad Alamolhoda, the ultraconservative Friday Prayer leader of Mashahd in northeatern Iran, pointed out in his last Friday prayer that the prevalence of not committing to hijab leads to “changing the religious identity of the society”.
“Lately, prominent figures on social media have been calling for tolerance with woman who don’t wear hijab just to appease young people,” he said.
“A conspiracy has started in Turkey to portray women with hijab as the causes of indecency, corruption and prostitution,” he added claiming that “women with hijab can go to discos in Turkey.”