Flogging Iranian woman who defied wearing hijab stirs controversy

The social media in Iran is abuzz with a torrent of outrage as well as appreciation after an Iranian woman was flogged on Wednesday, concurrent with Women’s Day, for refusing to wear hijab.

Roya Heshmati was detained in April for publishing her pictures on social media without wearing Islamic attire. She was initially sentenced to 13 years and nine months in prison, as well as 148 lashes, which was reduced to 74 lashes in the appeals court.

The Iranian Judiciary’s news website Mizan Online stated that the punishment, regardless of the timing, was legally lawful and in accordance with the Constitution, which asserts that observing hijab is mandatory in public places for women in the country.

However, there are those like Shahindokht Molaverdi, a former Iranian vice president for women and family affairs, who rebuked the decision to carry out the sentence on Women’s Day in Iran, which is designated on the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet’s daughter, Fatemeh Zahra.

“The opportunity the religious occasion provided for a better and more efficient understanding of the authentic religious values in order not to push the society further towards fighting with or running away from those values, was turned into a threat by a distorted way of thinking,” Molaverdi wrote in an article in Etemad daily.

Clearing ambiguities, she stressed that women should not be flogged at any other time either.

Many others have lambasted the flagging sentence as having reverse implications regarding Islamic hijab.

This is while many, particularly on social media, have lauded the judiciary in this case.

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