Iranian Women Need Our Help

Zaynab Kouatli, Opinion Editor

Twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini was forcefully detained by the Morality Police of Iran because her hijab did not meet government standards on Sept. 13. Amini’s brother, Kiarash Amini, who was with her during the incident was told that she would be taken to a one hour “re-education class” due to her breaking the dress code mandates. 

However, this would be the last time her brother would ever see her as she was unjustly murdered by the Morality Police of Iran and pronounced dead just two days later.  

Kiarash told IranWire, “When I got to the front of the building, there were 60 or 70 people there carrying clothes for the detained women inside. After a few of them were released, we suddenly heard screams.” 

“All of us were banging on the doors. All of a sudden, the agents rushed out of the building and attacked us with batons and teargas. My whole body is black and blue, and my eyes have been burning since last night. Five minutes later an ambulance left the building.” 

“Every one of them said somebody inside had been killed. I showed Mahsa’s picture to the women. One of them said Mahsa was next to her when it happened. I was shocked and terrified. I asked one of the soldiers what had happened. He said, ‘One of our own soldiers has been injured.’ He was lying. I didn’t believe him. It was Mahsa in that ambulance. I ran until I reached Kasra Hospital.” 

Iranian authorities have refuted any allegations of unjust murder and have claimed Amini “suddenly suffered a heart problem.” However, the family has alleged that she was a perfectly healthy women and had no preexisting medical issues prior to her arrest.  

Kiarash was allowed to visit his deceased sister in the hospital, but he was not allowed to take any pictures. “Mahsa’s face is swollen, and her legs are bruised. I have nothing more to lose now. I’m being followed by police on the ground floor of this building and my sister is lying up there,” Kiarash said.  

Following the death of Amini, protests have broken out across the country of Iran. During these protests, women are burning their head scarves as an act of rebellion. Both men and women in Iran and across the world are showing their support for Amini by shaving their heads in public, on social media and during protests.  

Authorities have reacted to the protests with horrific acts of violence toward protestors. So far, 35 people have been killed according to a report from State Tv. These protests were sparked by the unjust murder of Amini, but they have become so widespread because they are part of a bigger democracy movement in Iran. 

One viral video of the protest shows the final moments of 20-year-old Hadis Najafi pulling her hair back into a hair tie and getting ready to protest. The video cuts off immediately just as Najafi is shot with six bullets. 

Iranians are tired of the corruption and strict religious laws that are enforced by the Iranian government since the 1979 Islamic Revaluation and are begging us to be their voice in this movement.  

A video captioned with the #MahsaAmini was posted by TikTok user, @sahra.zn. She explains in this video, “We do not have blue eyes, we do not have white skin, but we deserve to be heard. People in Iran are being killed by the government. Please be our voice. Please, please please be our voice.” 

The government is trying to silence the movement by cutting off all internet access. This is why it is crucial that we use our voices for the Iranian people. 

My heart goes out to all the women who are forced to live under this dictatorship and must bear the atrocities caused from these unjust laws. I understand your frustration, but I want to remind all non-Muslims that this revolution is not an excuse to spread hateful and Islamaphobic rhetoric towards Muslims.  

Already, I am seeing non-Muslims comment on posts of Hijabi women telling them to take of their hijabs. We are not going to take an injustice against women and turn it into another way of controlling women. Just as it is not okay to force a woman to wear a hijab, it is equally wrong to force a woman to take it off.  

The Iranian government is oppressing its women, but the hijab itself does not act as a symbol of oppression. The hijab becomes utterly meaningless when forced upon someone as suggested by Islamic teachings.  

When something bad happens in the Middle East, people in the West take the meaning of Islam and pervert into something bad. Most of the issues in the Middle East are because of the West interfering for the sake of greed.  

In 1953, the U.S. overthrew Muhammad Mosaddegh, the Socialist leader of Iran. Mosaddegh nationalized Iran’s oil supply which was great for Iran but angered some western countries because it meant less cheap oil.  

Therefore, the U.S. and Britain staged a coup on Mosaddegh and restored power to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran. Opinions on the Shah differed based on wealth and region in Iran. The lower classes were not happy with the Shah, but upper class citizens strongly supported him. 

After the Shah, France helped put Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini into power. Khomeini had a lot of false promises and ignited the Islamic Revolution. America thought this was a great time to help Iraq invade Iran. 

Essentially, the country became an Islamic Republic overnight and unrest was ample because of an invasion that occurred at the same time. After all these events that are practically at the fault of America, Britain and France, Iran was labeled as the axis of evil.  

This led America to impose extreme sanctions on Iran to weaken the government enough for the people to revolt. However, this did not turn out that way. 

The Iranian people grew poorer while the government grew wealthier. The sanctions made it easier for the Iranian government to control its people and eventually evolve into a dictatorship.  

The West could have minded their business and left in place the democratically elected prime minister of Iran but there was money to be made off stolen oil.  

Everything happening in Iran is not a religious issue, it is in fact a political issue. The horrors committed by the Iranian government go against the teachings of Islam. 

I also want to send a message out to Muslim men. This is not the time for you to have a superiority complex. You need to stand with your Muslim sisters. There is nothing more unIslamic than standing on the sidelines as your Muslim sisters are being wrongfully controlled, beaten and killed.  

Islamic teaching implores men to treat women with kindness and respect, even in times of dissent or disagreement. “And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good,” Quran 4:19. 

The Iranian people are being abused and killed by their own government, but we have the power to help them. I am begging you, as a Muslim, as a woman, to please use your voice and help spread the message of the Iranian people. 

 I saw you all post your prayers and spread awareness when there were injustices in Ukraine. I am asking you to do the same for the Iranian people. If you have ever called yourself an activist or feminist, now is your time to prove it. I will remind you that you cannot claim that you are an advocate for women’s rights if you do not speak up when it comes to the rights of women of color.  

Please donate if you have the ability to do so and use the hashtag #MahsaAmini to spread awareness to help fight for the Iranian people during this time of unrest. They need our help! Please. . .