Badass Women in Iran defy the law and ride bicycles
On this spring equinox we celebrate women in Iran who defy fatwa law and “ride bicycles”. A freedom and privilege most women take for granted in the rest of the world. So today as you take your #springday #ride, reflect on how blessed you are to freely enjoy this amazing sport.
Iranian women have been posting photographs and videos of themselves cycling, defying a fatwa that claims the activity threatens a woman’s chastity. A Facebook protest group, called My Stealthy Freedom, has been documenting the fightback after Iranian police chiefs warned that women caught cycling would be prosecuted.
In one video posted to the group, a woman films herself cycling.
She says: “Hello, we finished biking in the city just now. We were nine people, two more joined us in our path.
“We were two women, the rest were men. No one protested against us today because there were men with us.
“Here they say when you have a man as company, you are protected.
“But when I got a bit farther than the men in the group, I heard people saying nasty things about me biking.
“But I do not worry nor have any fears, as I am sure the prohibition of biking for women will be lifted in coming years.
“On that day, I will be proud that I did resist the oppression, as I believe those who oppress us are wrong.
“Biking for women is not a taboo, and no one can tell me it is.”
In another video, a mother and daughter cycle together.
They issued a direct message to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, saying: “we love cycling and we are not going to give up”.
Earlier this month Ayatollah Khamenei issued a fatwa prohibiting women from riding a bicycle in a public place.
“Riding a bicycle often attracts the attention of men and exposes the society to corruption, and thus contravenes women’s chastity, and it must be abandoned,” Ayatollah Khamenei told state media.
Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist who started the movement My Stealthy Freedom, has urged women in the country to show themselves cycling, and to use the hashtag #IranianWomenLoveCycling.
he told ABC: “This fatwa has received much ridicule on social media.
“It is absolutely shameful to hear such a backward fatwa against women in the 21st century … it is unacceptable in 2016.
“Women in Iran want to be active in society but for the clerics that’s the big threat because in their eyes, women should not be seen nor heard, stuck in the kitchen.”
There have previously been no laws against cycling in the country, but in July a group of women participating in a cycling event in the north-western city of Marivan were stopped by local police and asked to sign a pledge promising never to cycle in public again.