Iran: Christian activist forced to strip, says Islamic regime uses sexual violence against female protestors
The idea is to humiliate and degrade them, and by raping them, to deny them a place in paradise, for in Islam it is entirely the woman’s responsibility to prevent a man from being tempted (hence the hijab, chador, niqab, burqa), and if he is tempted anyway, it’s her fault.
Exclusive: ‘Was forced to strip, govt uses sexual violence against female protesters,’ says Iranian Christian activist
by Annu Kaushik, Firstpost, October 17, 2022:
In 2020, Mary Mohammadi was taken to a detention center near Iran’s capital Tehran. Officials told her that her hair was visible.
In the basement of the all-female detention center, Mary was forced to strip.
“If my hair is a problem, is it not a problem to force me to take off all my clothes? Is this Islamic?,” Mary told Firstpost in an exclusive conversation.
The incident was part of the sexual violence that the regime has been using to suppress female protesters and activists, Mary said.
“During protests, security personnel touch female demonstrators inappropriately. They want to make women fearful of stepping out,” she said.
24-year-old Mary has been on the radar of Iranian officials for several reasons. Born to a Muslim family, she converted to Christianity in 2017.
Christian converts and other religious minorities like the Bahais are not recognised in Iran.
Over the last few years, Mary has faced persecution from the authorities in the form of arrests and interrogations due to her faith as well as activism.
The personnel who transferred her to the detention center in 2020 belonged to the morality police which is currently in the eye of the storm due to the death of Mahsa Amini which has triggered nationwide protests in Iran.
But it’s not just the morality police who target women for not wearing the mandatory hijab or a head scarf or wearing it improperly.
According to Mary “radical Muslims do it too.”
In 2019, Mary was on a bus in Tehran. It was a hot day and she had taken off her hijab. Suddenly a fully veiled woman approached Mary and asked her to cover her hair.
“When I refused, an argument ensued during which the woman attacked me & my face was left bloodied,” Mary said.
The activist somehow managed to take the woman to the police station. According to Mary, the officers dissuaded her from filing a complaint and even threatened her with arrest.
“They (police) were very kind to that woman. They let her go at 10 pm but kept me in custody till 3 am,” she added.
“Radical Muslims can even attack minorities in public because the regime is behind them,
“Islamic hijab is mandatory in Iran even for non-Muslims. I am a Christian but I must wear hijab,” she said.
Mary’s activism and faith also took a personal toll. Without giving any reason, her university barred her from appearing in exams.
But what was more hurtful for Mary was the treatment meted out to her by a former employer who was also a close friend.
“The gymnast training center where I worked was shut down during the COVID lockdown. I kept asking my employers when I can return and they told me and they are still closed,” Mary said.
One day, the activist turned up at the center unannounced and saw that it was fully operational.
Mary was not given her job back and believes that her employer and the university faced pressure from the authorities.
Constant threats that Mary said were from the authorities forced her to flee Iran in February 2022. The activist who is currently living in the US told Firstpost that in her home country security forces “continue to use sexual violence in the ongoing protests.”…
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