The hijab had come to stay

Tarek Fatah wonders what on earth the city of Ottawa thinks it’s doing “celebrating” the hijab.

This Thursday, the City of Ottawa will be holding a public event celebrating the Islamist hijab; an article of cloth that many Muslim women consider akin to the medieval chastity belt.

He says we need to understand the history of the Islamist revolution in Iran to get what this is all about.

On March 7, 1979 the Islamic Republic declared that henceforth all Iranian women would not be allowed to step outside their homes if they did not have their heads covered by a chador (a black, blanket-like shawl) or a hijab.

Many Iranians first thought of this decree as a joke, but when it became clear the ayatollahs meant business and would imprison any woman found “naked” with her head not wrapped in cloth, there were spontaneous protests across the country.

But the mullahs had the power, and the protests failed.

The hijab had come to stay, and over the years spread its tentacles across the globe as a political statement, hated by many Iranian women, but loved by Islamist followers of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Pakistan’s Jamat-e-Islami in North America.

This Friday, Iranians will go to the polls to elect a new parliament.

Not up for discussion or a vote in this election is the oppressive hijab that many Iranian Muslim women have been fighting against, risking arrest — and even lashings.

If it were, few doubt the law of the hijab would die an instant death. But no opponent of the hijab is permitted to stand for election.

But there is Facebook now.

With the advent of social media, however, the fight against the hijab has taken a new form.

Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad created a Facebook page “My Stealthy Freedom” where thousands of Iranian women are posting videos and pictures of themselves, without the mandatory head covering.

The page has garnered more than 750,000 likes and has drawn the ire of the Iranian government.

So why is Ottawa “celebrating” the fiendish thing?

Let’s have a few photos from My Stealthy Freedom:

Celebrate that, Ottawa.

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