Hijab enforcement heightens tension in Iran

By July 31, 2023

Iran (MNN) — Amnesty International describes a new crackdown in Iran enforced by morality police. Social media videos depict officials violently assaulting women and security forces firing teargas toward people helping women escape arrests.

Iran restored the controversial morality police department earlier this month to counter “hijab negligence.” Analysts say the move only fuels an anti-regime movement approaching its first anniversary.

Last September, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in morality police custody, sparking the most significant anti-government movement to date.

Revolt carries a heavy price in Iran. Heart4Iran’s Nazanin Baghestani says, “We get calls every day from women [inside Iran] being traumatized, just being on edge.”

Of fear and freedom

Baghestani oversees Heart4Iran’s 24/7 call center ministry. More about that here. Many young girls like Samira* reach out because they are afraid and have nowhere else to turn.

“People print our phone number and put it on the streets in Tehran and other cities. She found our number on one of these stickers and called us,” Baghestani says.

“She said, ‘Can you help me? I’ve heard you pray for us. I need prayer.’”

Fear ruled Samira’s life after the police took her into custody. “She was always on edge; she was paranoid [about] everything, so she wouldn’t leave the house,” Baghestani says.

“She fainted a couple of times on the street because of her stress.”

Baghestani counseled Samira over several calls, reading God’s Word and praying together. “One night, she encountered Jesus in her room,” Baghestani says.

(Photo courtesy of Heart4Iran)

“She said, ‘I didn’t see anything, but I knew Jesus was there loving and protecting me.’ From then on, she was free. She said, ‘I go out [now]. I’m not afraid anymore because I know Jesus is protecting me.’”

Find your place in the story

You can help women and girls like Samira through Heart4Iran. Learn how here.

A simultaneous clampdown on religious minorities needs your prayerful response as well. More than 50 believers were arrested on unknown charges immediately following the reinstatement of the morality police.

“The reason for this sudden surge in nationwide arrests of Christians is unclear at this stage,” Article18’s advocacy director Mansour Borji says.

“What is obvious is that Iran has begun a fresh crackdown on civil liberties, and the traditionally vulnerable groups, like Christians, are on the front line of those targeted.”





Header and story images courtesy of Heart4Iran.