They are Yasaman Aryani (left), Monireh Arabshahi (center) and Mojgan Keshavarz (right). They are Iranians and have been sentenced to a total of 55 years in prison for refusing to wear the Islamic veil.
Detained, beaten and tortured for rejecting the Islamic veil
For that simple fact, on April 10, Iranian intelligence agents showed up at Yasaman Aryani’s home in Tehran to take her away, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s Women’s Committee. The next day they also arrested her mother, Monireh Arabshahi, simply by going to the Vozara Detention Center to ask for her daughter’s whereabouts. Monireh was taken to Qarchak prison, and her daughter was confined for 9 days in Vozara, where she was tortured to tear out a confession. Mojgan Keshavarz was arrested at her home in Tehran on April 25. She was beaten before her daughter and taken to a place of detention that was not communicated. At the time of her arrest, Mojgan worked as a volunteer to help those affected by the floods in the Iranian province of Lorestan.
False accusations for which they have been sentenced to long prison terms
On July 31, the three women were convicted by the Tehran Revolutionary Court in the absence of their lawyers, in a direct violation of their procedural rights. In a trial that can only be described as a farce, Judge Mohammad Moghiseh sentenced each of them to 5 years in prison for “association and collusion against national security”, one year in prison for “spreading propaganda against the State” and 10 years in prison for “encouraging and preparing the basis for corruption and prostitution.” A colossal nonsense typical of an Islamist dictatorship like Iran. In addition, Mojgan Keshavarz received an additional sentence of 7 and a half years in prison for “insulting holiness.” And all this, I repeat, for refusing to wear the Islamic veil. On June 26, they had already been informed of their charges by the aforementioned judge, who at that time and using abusive language against them, threatened them with these words: “I will make you all suffer.”
USA condemns the sentence: Europe and the feminist movement are silent
This case has deserved international attention. A week ago, Morgan Ortagus, a spokesman for the US State Department, condemned the Iranian regime for that ruling and urged other nations to condemn it. Two days later, some UN human rights experts also condemned the sentence. Incomprehensibly, no European government has joined that condemnation. As an example, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not published any statement on the case. But more striking than the silence of European governments is the silence of Western organizations that claim to defend women’s rights: not a single feminist protest has been convoked before embassies of Iran. This case has also not deserved the attention of most feminist groups. After an exhaustive search, I only found two feminist pages that echoed the news: The Asian Feminist (on Facebook) and the Swedish website Feministiskt Perspektiv.
What happens when feminism is more leftist than feminist
This absence of reactions is incomprehensible if we consider that three weeks have passed since the sentence against the three Iranian women was known. Perhaps that silence of the feminist movement is due to its growing alignment with the political left, which is very lax with human rights violations in Islamic countries. An example of this is the American feminist leader Linda Sarsour, leftist and Muslim, who already made comments trivializing the imposition of the Islamic veil on women in Saudi Arabia. In Spain, the leader of the far-left party Podemos, which promotes a radical feminist discourse, recognized in 2013 that it was being used by Iran to destabilize Spain. Nowadays, Iglesias continues to present a program on the HispanTV television channel, owned by the Iranian Government. Podemos has never once condemned discrimination against women in Iran, but at the same time try to convince Spanish women that they live oppressed by the “patriarchy”, transferring the Marxist scheme of the class struggle to the sexes, following the approaches of feminist and communist Shulamith Firestone, founder of radical feminism in the 1970s.
Left feminism is more concerned with Islamophobia than with women
The reality is that while women from Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries are treated as second-class people, Western women enjoy full equality before the law and full equal opportunities. Given this reality, it would be logical for the feminist movement to strive to help women who are discriminated against in the Islamic world. However, for leftist feminism the priorities are different. We must remember that one of the few radical feminists who dared to denounce the imposition of the Islamic veil in Iran, Kate Millet, was the first person to be accused of “Islamophobia”, as Pascal Bruckner recalls in “The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism” (Princeton University Press, 2012). The term is used today by the political left and its feminist wing to silence any criticism of Islam in the West. Proof of this is that the manifesto of the “feminist strike” called by the left in Spain on March 8 criticized “Islamophobia” and cried against the United States, Brazil and Italy, but without saying a word about the situation of women in Iran or Saudi Arabia. From what it seems, leftist feminism cares more about anti-American geopolitics than women’s rights and dignity.
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