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Dissidents: ‘Iranian women are outraged’ death of headscarf

tears will come soon Massy Alinejad She speaks about a message she recently received from an Iranian woman protesting the government after a young woman died in police custody for violating the country’s strict religious dress code.

They speak of the risk, perhaps fatality, of facing off against government forces that have a long history of cracking down on dissent. They share the story of saying goodbye to their parents, perhaps for the last time. They sent a video of a confrontation with police, showing a woman removing her state-mandated head covering and cutting her hair.

“I feel people’s anger through text messages right now,” Alinejad told the Associated Press. New York A 46-year-old opposition activist and writer in exile has lived in the city since fleeing Iran after the 2009 elections.

“They have been ignored for years,” she said. “That’s why they are angry. Iranian women are furious now.”

The spur of this recent outburst of anger was the death this month of the 22-year-old Masa AminiA young woman was detained on Sept. 13 on suspicion of wearing the hijab too loosely, in violation of restrictions requiring women to wear Islamic headscarves in public. She died in police custody three days later. Authorities said she suffered a heart attack but was not injured. Her family disputed this, leading to public outcry.

Protests began after her Sept. 17 funeral and took place in more than a dozen cities. At least 11 people were killed, according to an Associated Press tally based on state and semi-official media statements, with state television anchors saying the number could be higher. The Iranian government rallied, clashing with demonstrators and cracking down on internet access.

Alinejad shares the protesters’ anger. Over her decade-plus, she has been an outspoken critic of the theocracy that governs the country and the control of women through mandatory hijab wearing and other means. In 2014, she started my secret freedoman online effort to encourage Iranian women to display images of themselves without a hijab.

“Let me be clear that the Iranian women facing guns and bullets in the streets right now are not protesting the mandatory hijab like a piece of cloth. Not at all,” she said. rice field.

“They are protesting one of the most visible symbols of oppression. They are protesting the entire regime.”

Alinejad, who grew up following the rules about religious coverings in the small town in Iran where she was born, began objecting to being forced to wear certain clothing as a teenager.

But even for her now naturally sporting a full head of curly hair, overcoming a lifetime of conditioning wasn’t easy.

“It wasn’t easy to put together overnight,” she said.

She said the first time she went out in Lebanon without a religious covering, she had a panic attack at the sight of a police officer. She said, “I thought she was going to be arrested by the police.”

Her activities have reduced her fan base among Iranian officials and government supporters to zero.

Last year, three Iranian intelligence agents and alleged members of an Iranian intelligence network were indicted in federal court in Manhattan for plotting to kidnap her and bring her back to Iran. . In August, an armed man was arrested after he was seen hanging around Alinejad’s Brooklyn home and trying to open the front door.

But she is committed to her cause and supports women and men who are taking part in protests in Iran. She wants more support from people in the West.

“We deserve the same freedom. We are fighting for our dignity. We are fighting for the same slogan. My body, my choice.”

She worries about what might happen to the Iranian demonstrators if there is no outside pressure.

“My fear is that the Iranian regime will kill more people if democracies do not act,” he said of the protest.

She called the women who took part in the protests warriors and “true feminists.”

“These are suffragette women who are risking their lives and facing guns and bullets,” she said.

But, as has happened in the past, even if the government took enough control to quell the protests, the dissent wouldn’t go away, she said.

“The Iranian people made the decision,” she said. “Whether the regime cracks down on the protests or they shut down the internet, the Iranian people will not give up. … The anger is there.” Dissidents: ‘Iranian women are outraged’ death of headscarf

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