Mohammad-Taghi Fazel Meibodi, a member of the Assembly of Qom Seminary Scholars and Researchers

Iranian Cleric Condemns Peer Filming Unveiled Woman

Monday, 03/11/2024

A senior Iranian cleric has voiced criticism over a video circulating on social media depicting a fellow cleric filming an unveiled woman in a clinic in Qom, Iran's holy city.

Mohammad-Taghi Fazel Meibodi, a member of the Assembly of Qom Seminary Scholars and Researchers, condemned the behavior, stating that “such conduct is inappropriate for someone in clerical attire.”

Meibodi emphasized the need to avoid escalating tensions, warning that such incidents could reignite civil protests. His comments allude to the recent surge in public discontent, particularly following the death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested in 2022 for not wearing proper hijab, sparking the Woman, Life, Freedom movement across Iran.

The video, which went viral in Iran, captures a tense encounter between a cleric and a young woman holding her baby in the clinic. The woman's hijab is loose, prompting the cleric to film her, in accordance with the clerical regime's policy of enforcing proper hijab. Instances of hardliners reporting others for insufficient hijab are common, often resulting in legal action by authorities.

The situation escalated into a confrontation when the woman noticed the cleric filming her. Other women in the clinic intervened, urging the cleric to delete the video to avoid further trouble for the mother.

The incident highlights broader issues surrounding women's rights and the enforcement of hijab laws in Iran. Rather than prosecuting those who harass others over hijab, authorities often target victims and those who share photos or videos that portray the regime or its officials negatively.

Despite growing criticism and calls for reform, Mehdi Rostamnejad, deputy for education at the seminaries, on Monday claimed an increase in applicants for seminary education, alleging continued interest in religious studies despite recent controversies.

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