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Iranian women flout dress code - Facebook campaign launched

 LONDON, May 14, (AFP): Thousands of Iranian women have come together in an online campaign for greater social freedoms, posting pictures of themselves flouting the Islamic dress code required of all women in public.

More than 146,000 people have supported the Facebook page “Stealthy Freedoms of Women in Iran,” which was created just 10 days ago with the aim of sparking debate on whether women should have the right to choose to wear the hijab. It has yet to provoke an official response from the Iranian authorities, who fear people are letting Islamic values slip as they turn towards a more Western lifestyle.

The hijab, which is obligatory in Iran, requires women to cover their hair and much of their body in loose clothing in public. It has become a defining feature of Iran’s interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law, since the 1979 revolution.

More than one hundred photos have already been posted on the page, with young women posing bare-headed in the countryside, suburbs, by the sea and even in cities. “This is me committing a crime,” wrote a girl who posted an image of herself sitting in the middle of a secluded road in Nour Forest in northern Iran, with her headscarf resting on her shoulder. “Covertly, but in absolute peace,” her caption said. Another photo shows a grandmother, a mother and her daughter together on a pavement.

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