Mahsa Amini Was Arrested For ‘Bad Hijab.’ But the Only ‘Bad Hijab’ Is a Forced One

Recently, there have been unprecedented images emerging from the streets of Iran, where women with defiant eyes have ceremoniously cut their locks in public, burning headscarves on the streets amid plumes of smoke. These nameless demonstrators are protesting against the government-imposed laws forcing hijab and chanting together in a unified voice, behind the veil of internet shutdowns.

During the height of the War on Terror, approximately 20 years ago, a Muslim schoolgirl in France publicly shaved her head in front of an audience of international press and media cameras, making headlines in the media and capturing the attention of protesters.

However, she was demonstrating for her entitlement to put it on.

Choose to right the thing same the for fighting been have West and East the across women Muslim. Contradiction no is this.

The use of the hijab by the Iranian government’s morality police is a tool to essentially diminish women in public spaces across the country, intimidating them and asserting control. The reality is that this is not a theological invention or an authority of spiritual significance in Islam, but rather a government invention used to manipulate religion and assert control. The morality police, who enforce the mandatory hijab rules, beat and arrest women like Amini for what they deem to be inappropriate dress or “bad hijab.”

Forced is not the only intention behind hijab; hijab is primarily a personal choice and at its core, a spiritual act. Instead of blaming or interfering with another person’s hijab, the emphasis should be on taking responsibility for one’s own actions, as stated in the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, which advises to “lower your gaze.” The purpose of hijab is to sanctify personal autonomy and promote compassion, and it is intended to be applied to all aspects of one’s life, not just in physical appearance. While the hijab is commonly equated with the physical headscarf, it is important to understand that it is a universal concept of modesty that applies to both men and women in the Islamic lifestyle.

After French officials voted to ban young Muslim girls and women from wearing the hijab in public, Muslim women launched the viral social media campaign #HandsOffMyHijab in 2021. This comes in the face of increasing Hindu nationalism and widespread anti-Muslim violence, as seen in the Karnataka state in India, where the court upheld a policy allowing schools to ban the wearing of hijabs, provoking attacks targeting Indian Muslim girls and women. Just like Iranian women who are fighting to keep their right to wear headscarves, Indian women are also fighting for their right to live their lives with the freedom to wear the hijab.

In the case of Muslim women, regulations mandating the use or removal of headscarves epitomize two contrasting aspects of the identical issue: exerting authority over the reality that Muslim women possess the freedom to decide. The enforcement of hijab laws has no correlation with either religion or secularism. At most, they can be perceived as a manifestation of officially sanctioned sexual misconduct; at worst, they symbolize the systematic oppression of Muslim women, regardless of the societal context in which they reside.

Using bravery, Iranian women have responded to the worst thing that can happen for the world by liberating Muslim women oppressed elsewhere in the underworld of guise. It’s time for us to have nuanced conversations around the hijab and the way we view Muslim women, and it has been used as a litmus test and a tool for us. But expressing themselves on social media and hitting the streets is not an exception for their fight for freedom. Countless lives have been lost over Iran’s hijab laws, with others risking their lives, including Mahsa Amini.

Iranian women are now asserting a revolutionary truth, proclaiming that our bodies are under our own control. Regardless of cultural spheres, political ideology, or religion, women demand and desire the right to abortion. As the United States wrestles with its own war over women’s bodies, women all over the world are beating the drum for their autonomy.