Crisis in Iran

On Sept. 13, 2022, Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, was detained and confronted with violence in Tehran, Iran, for allegedly breaking the strict law requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf. After being detained, Amini was placed in a detention center that taught the proper dress code in Iran. In the center, she collapsed and ended up suffering from sudden heart failure which ultimately led to her death three days later. 

Protests erupted over Iran triggered by the death of Amini, demanding the dress code legislation to be repealed. Protesters took to the streets chanting “women, life, freedom”, with ladies removing hijabs and cutting their hair in public, burning the Quran, and setting fire to mosques and cars. This ultimately led to internet outages and disruptions to cut protesters’ communication to the outside world.

The Islamic Republic originally instituted the legislation to dress modestly in 1981 after Ebrahim Raisi took Mohammad Reza’s place as president following the Iranian Revolution. Since the legislation has been placed, Iran has never seen protests erupted like seen today. Why did Amini’s death spark such intense protests across the nation? What other factors are driving these protests?

First and foremost, people desire for political freedom. Iranians, particularly the younger generations, have been frustrated with the number of laws that are implemented by the government . The pandemic has intensified the economic pressures on Iran, which were already enormous due to the sanctions imposed. Furthermore, Iran has become increasingly isolated in which Iranians are not being welcome in many countries which has placed a lot of pressure on the citizens. Amini’s death became a catalyst for political change.  

Undoubtedly, this issue has a great impact on DHS students. Given we have a large Muslim population, it impacts the remaining student population as well because we have a big Muslim community here. The protests in Iran represent a movement about freedom with the majority of the protesters within our generation demanding change.

As an Arab-Persian American, I can understand the resentment about having to wear the hijab on a daily basis within today’s society. Especially since women in this modern era prefer to set their own dress code standards. However, the way the women of Iran are portraying their anger publically and online could use some improvement. Burning the Quran and mosques disrespects the religion of Islam. Furthermore, tarnishing the hijab on all social platforms has brought consequences to women who do wear the hijab globally. As a Muslim who wears the hijab, I can acknowledge this. 

Islam is defined as peace. It is infuriating how uneducated individuals appear to mistake the fact that Muslims practice a religion of peace because of how it is portrayed in the media. People often always mix up ethnicity and religion, for example, people tend to associate Arabs as Muslims when that is incorrect . As a TikTok user, I constantly receive comments asking if I’m being forced to wear the hijab and discriminate against me for my religion versus the considerable remarks I previously received. Given Islam is a religion of peace, why would it force its subjects? 

All in all, the citizens of Iran have been protesting and having legal issues long before Amini passed away. With the unfortunate death of Amini, violent protests have sparked over the nation led by the younger population demanding political freedom. The actions of the protesters have led to unforeseeable consequences for Muslims globally. However, the movement led by the younger generation is inspiring and should set forth as an example to DHS students, with the proper modifications.  If we, as a generation, make an effort to stay up to date on current events, we too could bring about change in this country. We can start with making an effort to minimize publicizing of school fights, and encourage more harmony amongst each other. Perhaps reading this made you feel something about what’s happening in Iran. Rather than passively watching or listening, you can join petitions, donate, and take action to help end the catastrophe there.