Thursday, December 11, 2008

Iran arrests 49 for wearing 'satanic' clothing

Iranian police have arrested 49 people during a crackdown on what the Islamic republic deems "satanic" clothes. Mahmoud Rahmani, head of police in the northern city of Qaemshahr, where the arrests took place, denounced Iranians who wore western-style clothes and haircuts.

"Police confronted rascals and thugs who appeared in public wearing satanic fashions and unsuitable clothing," he said. He added that five local barber shops were closed and twenty more warned for "promoting western hairstyles".

These are believed to include spiky haircuts. Periodic crackdowns on western styles have been a feature of Iran since the Islamic revolution brought the ayatollahs to power in 1979. Western businessmen used to regularly face having their ties clipped by zealous revolutionary guards as neckties were viewed as decadent. But while crackdowns normally last only a few months, the current one has been going on for well over a year. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has in the past suggested Iran's enemies may try to stage a "soft" or "velvet" revolution by infiltrating corrupt culture or ideas.

Visitors to Iran are often surprised by the number of young women in the capital city Tehran who wear figure-hugging trousers and make-up, often pushing back their headscarves to expose their faces. But such deportment is carried out by only a minority and is frowned on by government officials. "Some individuals, not knowing what culture they are imitating, put on clothing that was designed by the enemies of this country," Mr Rahmani said. "The enemies of this country are trying to divert our youth and breed them the way they want and deprive them of a healthy life." .

(Excerpt)

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