Iranian women have been posting photographs and videos of themselves cycling in public, in defiance of a fatwa that claims riding a bike poses a threat to a woman’s chastity. Journalist Masih Alinejad, the founder of My Stealthy Freedom, has urged women to post the images of themselves with the hashtag #IranianWomenLoveCycling.
Earlier this month, Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini issued a fatwa prohibiting women from cycling in public. “Riding a bicycle often attracts the attention of men and exposes the society to corruption, and thus contravenes women’s chastity, and it must be abandoned,” he told state media.
In one courageous video, a mother and daughter are seen riding together, and issuing a direct message to Ayatollah Khameini, saying, “It is our absolute right and we are not going to give up.”
In July, it was reported that a group of women in the country’s north were stopped by law enforcement while riding bicycles and required to sign pledges not to repeat the ‘violation.’
The My Stealthy Freedom Facebook page has previously provided a platform for Iranian women to post images of themselves throwing off their mandated headscarves, and of men wearing headscarves to protest hijab. Alinejad has also been posting the images to her Instagram account.
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من اهل شمالم و عاشق دوچرخه سواري. متاسفم برای خودم دارم تو کشوری زندگی میکنم که حتی حق انتخاب پوشیدن لباس برای تن خودم رو هم ندارم درحالیکه فقرو بدبختی وبیکاری تو کشور بیداد،میکنه ماهرروز باید بخاطر هر لحظه افتادن روسری از سرمون بدون اینکه متوجهش باشیم به آقایون رده بالا جواب پس بدیم واقعا دغدغه ای بزرگتر از اینا نیست که آقایون به فکر راه چاره باشن، #من_عاشق_دوچرخه_ام #IranianWomenLoveCycling
Alinejad, who appeared at the 2016 Women in the World Summit, told ABC, “Women in Iran want to be active in society but for the clerics that’s the big threat because in their eyes, women should not be seen nor heard, stuck in the kitchen.”
Watch Masih Alinejad speak at the 2016 Women in the World Summit:
Read the full story at The Telegraph.