Oct 2014

Hijab and the issues surrounding it, in Iran, especially in the capital city

According to one of the Islamic websites there are more than ten verses in Quran which are about veil. Veil means a coverage in which the whole body of the woman should be covered; however this word means curtain and coverage. In Islam all girls have to use veil when they reach their ninth birthday.

In Iran Hijab is obligatory for women and in some sense for men, too. There are many people among them who do not believe in Hijab but they have to obey this law. Some women in Iran wear Chador which is mostly a black coverage which covers their body from head to foot, some other wear Manto and scarf. In the capital city and most of Iranian cities no body uses a mask, however in southern cities it is common to use mask and Arabian chador.

During the first years of the Islamic revolution of Iran there was an organization called “committe” whose duty was arresting the people who did not have suitable hijab even if they were in the cars, sometime they even went far beyond and entered the private meetings and parties and arrested all those who did not have veils, sentenced them to jail, whip or paying cash as a punishment, but at the moment the verdict is the duty of the country ministry and it should be executed by the police.

This custom which has been commenced from the Revolution, was a little bit modified during the presidency of Ali Khatami as it faced some objections the extremists had to create a new way for controlling the people. In this way a travelling judge was present in some special cars called “ Gasht- e- ershad” and anyone who was arrested and considered to have unsuitable veil had to face her trial at place, but during the presidency of Ahmadi nejad the situation changed and the control over the people was much more stricter.

During his presidency in summer and spring when people need lighter coverage they put much more pressure on the people. They increased the number of the so called “ gashte – e – ershad” and you could easily see them in any place and they had the permission to arrest the people easily. They were mostly present in public places like shopping centers, parks, in front of restaurants and coffee shops. They even sometimes arrested the people who in their belief had normal veil; this custom still exists and is going on.

Which groups do they arrest and what is their behavior towards them: they are sensitive to those who have stretch and short coverage, those who have make up, nail polish, sandals without socks, short scarf and boots. A few numbers of the arrested people will experience interpellation and mostly on the basis of the character of the interpellator will have to experience some insults and finally have to give a written commitment, but most of the arrested people will be taken to the police station and they have to go to Quran and Islamic culture classes then they will contact one of the family members of the arrested person and that person has to come and take the arrested one home, some others especially those who have been arrested in parties have to stay in jail until the date of the trial and then they will mostly be sentenced to pay cash.

It does not make any difference for them what the environmental situations is and how the people feel. The people’s age, career, level of education and belief does not matter. People think that they have to arrest a special number of people such a belief each day and the kind of coverage is not so much important for them.

I cannot talk about the level of the accuracy of such a belief, but some time ago they arrested mother of one of my friends in one of the squares of Tehran. This woman is about 50 and is suffering from cancer and is being treated by chemotherapy. She has lost all of her hair and eyelashes as a result of chemotherapy and as she herself says she had a normal coverage. She says:” when they arrested me and took me to the police station their boss was surprised at arresting a person like me, however they did not accept their fault and asked me to attend the Quran and Islamic culture classes and find the right way” this woman narrated that at the same day another woman was arrested who was pregnant and was arrested because of wearing sandals without socks.

This part of Islamic culture has not ignored men. Men in Iran are not allowed to wear shorts in public areas. They are sensitive to the hair style of men and even stretch and colorful shirts for men are forbidden.

I as a woman do not believe that hijab, according to Islamic republic of Iran, bring respect for a woman, and however as a Christian woman do my best to respect the laws and my society rules and eventually myself. According to 1 peter 2: 13 – 17 especially verse 15 which says “ for it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men “ these are ignorant people! So we can avoid their encounter by awareness and respect. I should say that I was myself notified by them once although I had a normal veil but I tried to behave respectfully.

Tina

Hello. I'm Tina. About ten years ago, I went to a church with my uncle, and after hearing the pastor words I felt that I found a God that I was looking for. I always feared God and that's why I felt that I cannot communicate with God who is so scary. The day after hearing this verse in the Bible that "come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest ", a deep peace was made in my heart, and after session I knelt and I believed in Christ and then all my family strangely believed in Jesus.

We lived in a very religious city and still live and my parents always emphasized that we would not talk about our faith with our family and friends at all.

Now that I speak with you I feel a heavy sadness in my heart. Today is the anniversary of the death of my father. About two years ago my father was infected by a rare disease. There is no cure for it and he was sick and in the bed in the hospital about one year and all his body was disabled.

During that one year, moreover that we were extremely upset because of my father, we must endure another issue that was very painful for all of us. I well remember when my relatives came to our home to meet my father; some of them brought some things that were not consistent with our beliefs. Some brought the prayers or Quran written on a small piece of paper and put them beside my father's bed; some person brought some water and poured in his throat.
We endured this situation because we did not want to disrespect people. Even I remember that once someone brought some soil from Karbala and told me that I would pour it into my father’s mouth with some water and I could not tolerate it anymore and angrily told him: ‘am I crazy? I would not do it.’

After these crises, my father died after a year of illness. Just that day he died we also endured another pain in addition to the sad to lose him. We could not bury him as a Christian. My father was buried as Islamic and Namaz (Islamic prayer) was read for him by his relatives and all his rites were held as Islamic. We could not disagree with his family because his family was very religious and faithful to Islamic principles. For three full days, my uncles made the sound of Quran aloud in the yard! I remember when once I turned off it, my uncle spoke me very badly and I did not say anything because I did not want to make any problem! In the situation, my only hope was that I would have left my father in the hands of Christ.
Today, after one year when I still remember that situation, my heart aches. I hope that one day everyone in Iran can live and act according to his/her own beliefs.

Maryam

Hello dear brothers and sisters. My name is Maryam and I want to share with you a story about early my faith.

Just 4 years ago when I had finished high school and I was prepared for the entrance exam of university, as many youth, I saw the comfort in the worldly matters, such as entertainment and traveling with friends, listening to music, enjoying from shopping and...

But I well remember that even thought I loved all these things but I felt an emptiness in my heart! An emptiness that was not filled with any of the mentioned entertainments.

I felt that the emptiness would be filled by having a boyfriend. Earlier I had become friend with a boy, everything was great. I lived in the clouds and I felt no emptiness in my heart and I was so happy because I thought that everything has changed. But very soon I realized that I had depended on him, but he ignored me and just wanted me for fun. This led me to hurt emotionally.

One day when I was very hopeless and lonely, a sense told me to go to see one of my friends who was a good believer and speak with her. When I arrived her home, she said that she saw in a dream that she talked to me. After I told her the events of the past few months, I involuntarily began to cry. She took my hands firmly and told me that she wanted to make me familiar with a person who has changed her life. She talked to me about Jesus and read Bible for me and referred to the verses that were related to the human sins and that God does not leave alone the humans. I loved that words really and it penetrated the depths of my heart.

After some research, I believed in Christ. Quickly, everything changed. The feelings of depression and anger were strangely decreased so that my family was amazed from those changes in me.

I wanted my family to get acquainted with the love of Christ but despite my impression, my father was not happy from my words and he told me that you have been perverted. I was surprised by his words because he was not a religious person but suddenly he had become so superstitious.

I tried not to provoke him against myself but it was quite the opposite. My father always blamed me. If his work was not going well during the day, he accused me and said that after bringing these devil books to our house, our financial situation has become bad. When he said those, I went to my room and closed the door and began to cry, but a voice inside me told me to be patient because I was right.

Sometimes I was in the room, I heard the voice of my parents who discussed about me. It was very painful for me and the question was made in my mind that why! I had not done bad thing that they discussed about me.

One day when I came home, I realized all my Christian books and CDs were thrown away. I got angry very much and when my father came back home from work, we had a serious debate. Finally, my father beat me severely and told me not to go out alone. I was very sad and I prayed: "Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed." But a calm voice inside me told me that Maryam everything will be okay.

After a few days, in the morning when I woke up, my father told me: "Maryam forgive me!" I was very surprised because during the few days he had not even looked at me. He said: "I had a strange dream last night where I was tortured and then crucified because of persecuting you."

After that day he did not blame me for my faith, although he did not define his dream for no one. But I am happy that my family have accepted my faith and everything has become normal.