Iran’s morality police were seen instructing women to wear the Islamic veil even when entering a Christian church.
Female officers were reportedly gathered outside the medieval Holy Savior Cathedral in Isfahan to enforce Iran’s “modesty laws.” Visitors said that the officers were lecturing people on whether or not the hijab was “appropriate” as they entered the cathedral, which is part of the Armenian Orthodox Church.
A photograph taken inside the church shows a woman defiantly taking off her hijab, but the other women behind her are still wearing theirs, Heatstreet reported.
The women who were stopped outside the cathedral, known locally as the Vank church, shared their story in a social media campaign called “My Stealthy Freedom,” which aims to change the Iranian law.
“The photo that I sent you shows the Vanak [sic] Church of Isfahan. It was ridiculous! Two female officers blamed us for what we’d been wearing, which is such a shame, isn’t it?” the social media post read.
“How would American Muslims react if they were forced to enter their mosques without hijab? Why should we put up with such a disgrace to women in the name of law? Isn’t this a type of bullying?” it continued.
Under Iranian law, every woman must wear a veil, in accordance with the government’s strict interpretation of Islam. Those who were caught disobeying the ordinance face violent arrests and punishment beatings.
Iran also enforces the strict dress code on non-Iranian women who are competing in sporting events in the country. Nazí Paikidze-Barnes, the reigning American female chess champion, dropped out of the 2017 Women’s World Chess Championship after she found out that the competition would be held in Iran and that the participants would be required to wear veils.
Last month, 18-year-old Iranian chess grandmaster Dorsa Derakhshani was booted from Iran’s national team after she failed to wear the hijab at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2017.
The Iranian government had confiscated about 40,000 cars in the first half of 2015 because drivers or passengers were not wearing their headscarves properly. Many women were pulled over and beaten to the ground before they were arrested.