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Opinion Piece By Hamid Bahrami
The UK hosts thousands of Muslim and ex-Muslim women who come from the Middle East while ruling regimes suppressed them in both law and practice for a long time.
All the fundamental rights of women have ceaselessly been violated by ideologically motived laws, which are approved by fundamentalist regimes which believe that a woman is worth half of a man. This means, for example, that if a woman dies in an accident, then her family receives only half compensation.
In historic terms, although Iranian clerics have always tried to restrict women but they have never given up against so-called Islamic rules.
At the moment, women in Iran suffer greatly under the Iranian regime, as the theocracy views them as second-class citizens. They face many restrictions, such as compulsory hijab, to be under the tutelage of a man, gender barriers, and systematic discrimination and marginalization.
A few months after the popular revolution in 1979, the founder of “the Islamic Republic”, Khomeini, decreed compulsory hijab in all governmental offices. However, in 1983, the Islamic Consultative Assembly (the parliament) legislated a repressive law that imposed penalties for women who do not observe the compulsory dress code.
Despite Hassan Rouhani, a purported “moderate” president, holding office, his government has continued to use morality police to enforce this repressive law. If a woman resists against the morality police, she will be arrested. According to some reports, a majority of women who are arrested by the morality police are subjected to sexual harassment.
There is also an exploiter law, which is officially known as Non-compliance. If a woman refuses to have sex with her husband, she can be sentenced by the court. Some fundamentalist clerics say that husbands can and should punish their wives for “such violation”.
There are other medieval laws in place, such as inheritance and testimony. A woman’s inheritance is half of that of a man’s. The same goes for women’s testimony in a court, as its worth half of a man. This means that there must be at least two women who testify on a matter in the court, if they expect their testimony to be heard and approved.
For Iran’s religious dictatorship, freedom for women is a red-line. It is a known fact that the clerics do not believe that a woman can or is fit to be a president or a judge. Consequently, the regime’s constitution bars women from standing as a candidate for a presidential election or being a judge.
Overall, despite international warnings in recent years, the condition of human rights has gotten worse in Iran. This is proven by the fact that Iran is one of the few countries that have a Special Rapporteur appointed by the United Nations. This Special Rapporteur has the mandate to monitor and report on the human rights situation in the country. The Iranian regime and its allies in the UN used many resources to try to prevent this appointment.
Despite the suppression, the women in Iran hold the flag to challenge the repressive laws. They have formed a resistance against the theocracy. They play a key role in the Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is led by a woman Maryam Rajavi who terrifies the ruling theocracy.