Iran Protest Mahsa Amini

Iran: Religious Laws and Women's Rights

Recent protests in Iran, following the death of Mahsa Amini, have reminded the world of the historic tensions between religious laws and women’s rights. Arrested by the regime’s morality police for improperly wearing her hijab (hair covering for a Muslim woman), Amini was taken into custody and detained in a “re-education” facility where she allegedly died of a heart attack. Since her mysterious death, thousands have mobilized to send a message to Iranian clerics that they will no longer submit to laws restricting women’s freedoms.

At ion, we stand for human rights for everyone, everywhere.

My maiden name is Amini. My father immigrated to the US from Iran in the 70's, met my mother, and had a family.

I visited Iran many times as a kid in the Summer. I had a short bowl haircut and looked like a little boy, so I got away with not having to cover myself with a head scarf. I loved playing soccer in the streets, buying fresh bread at the corner, and catching cherries that fell from my grandmother’s tree with her chador hijab.

My feelings toward Iran changed as I matured, when I had to begin covering myself during our travels there. I was stopped by the “morality police” once for exposing my ankles and wearing too much make-up. Luckily, my father was nearby. He explained that I was American and that we were on our way to a wedding.

I could have been an Amini who was taken away, abused, and left to die in a hospital.

I haven’t seen this crisis in Iran spoken about much on LinkedIn yet. Are we afraid to talk about this issue because we think it is a religious or cultural issue and not a human rights issue?

The internet is shut down in Iran. Many people are suffering not knowing if their sisters, nieces, mothers, and other family and friends are safe.

While they suffer in silence, we are free to speak. We can raise our awareness and our voices about Iran, religious laws, and women’s rights right now—because the subject of freedom hits home. How is this affecting our families, friends, and colleagues and their sense of safety?

At ion we created a spark* conversation guide to support anyone who wants to facilitate a small group conversation on this topic. The guide encourages you to invite 2-3 people who are different from you to meet in person or by video call for about 60 minutes to listen to and be heard by others. Rather than debating or convincing others, you take turns sharing, learning, and being curious.

Many of us are wondering what we can do right now to help. Raising our consciousness through conversation is a critical first step.

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Feel free to share this spark* conversation guide on Iran: Religious Laws and Women's Rights with as many people as possible.

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Blog Photo by Artin Bakhan on Unsplash