Iranian president affirms hijabs are a “legal matter”

By April 4, 2023

Iran (MNN) — On Saturday, reports say judicial authorities in Iran ordered the arrest of a mother and daughter for not wearing hijab coverings after a video went viral. In the video, the women entered a shop and appeared to be confronted by a man for not wearing hijabs before he threw a large pot of yogurt on them.

Soon after, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi made a statement supporting the legal requirement of hijabs for women.

A 2016 photo of Ebrahim Raisi when he ran as a candidate for the 2017 Iranian presidential election.
(Wikimedia Commons)

In live remarks on state television, Raisi said: “If some people say they don’t believe [in the hijab] … it’s good to use persuasion … But the important point is that there is a legal requirement … and the hijab is today a legal matter.”

Hijabs have been required for Iranian women since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, although the law has been selectively enforced.

Denise Godwin with International Media Ministries says, “Women are being subjugated with the hijab. They’ve been protesting for months over this. I know one of my friends said her sister went out for maybe the first time in decades without something and her mom was worried about that. It’s a big deal for them, not just culturally, but it’s a freedom issue. It’s a voice issue.”

Another Iranian friend of IMM who escaped to Europe was once arrested in Iran for not wearing any socks.

“She had on full covering with the hijab and body covering, but in a rush to leave the house and in the heat, she had no socks,” Godwin says. “She was detained with her sister and the only way [police] would let them go [was] they said, ‘Okay, you can sign this paper and you can go home.’

“The paper basically said, ‘I will stop being a prostitute. I won’t do it again.’ So suddenly you go from something as simple as not wearing socks to having to declare yourself some kind of criminal in order to go home.”

Godwin says, “I just can’t help but imagine these women who had the yogurt thrown on them were trying to express themselves in freedom that they didn’t have a hijab on, and now they’ve become criminals of some sort [because] the hijab is a legal matter.”

(Photo courtesy of Mhrezaa via Unsplash)

More and more Iranians are becoming disillusioned with Islam, and the religious landscape of the nation is changing.

“Many have become atheists. They have no sympathy for Islam. They have no sympathy for other religion. It’s an important time to be able to contact them via social media and satellites and give them a message of hope.”

IMM uses various media to share the critical hope of the Gospel with the people of Iran.

Godwin says, “As we are working in the long run on a larger version of Esther, we went ahead and shot a short social media piece that is bringing just a little slice of Esther out for social media…to try to say to people, ‘What is important in your life? What is important in the long run? What’s worth your freedom? What’s worth standing up for?’ Because Esther, as one person by herself, had to stand up for many and it was at great risk. But she had a hope of eternity and she knew that if she died, she died, but that she would have stood up for her people.

“In Iran, so many people don’t know about the hope of Christ and the hope of eternity. It’s important as they’re frustrated with their circumstances, with the politics, that they know not just about standing up for freedom, but finding who they really are in this world in Christ and finding their purpose in what God would say about them and to them.”

Please pray for all Iranians — Muslim or atheist, devout or searching — to know true freedom in Jesus Christ. Pray also for the spiritual vitality and encouragement of the Iranian Church.

“I know believers who are arrested often ask for prayer to be strong, that they would not slip, they would not deny,” says Godwin. “So I think that is so important to pray for them because they are being persecuted. Maybe it’s for socks, maybe it’s for a hijab, and maybe it’s for something else. But the underlying thing is freedom of religion and freedom to make choices in this world and Christ ultimately gave us the chance to choose Him or not choose Him.

“Also for IMM, if you would pray for us and the means to deliver and the opportunities that we have to communicate with different parts of the world and the funding needed to make that possible. It’s a lot of nitty-gritty work, but we know that God has called us to it and we appreciate anyone who can stand with us in prayer, in giving, or in considering to come and work alongside us in some way.”

Click here to learn more about IMM’s ministry.



Header photo courtesy of Majid Korang beheshti via Unsplash.

Help us get the word out: