By Nazanin Kamdar, Rooz Online
Last week special units of moral police in the city of Qom were physically attacked by people who complained against the enforcement and harassment of young people by police members on the pretext of enforcing the Islamic dress code.
A woman falling during a morality police raid on the Tehran Book Expo in May 2012
Criticism of the special moral units has been on the rise recently and even included the attorney general, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejhei. Two days after the attack, the police chief and his deputy Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam defended their force, but the latter went a step further and said that most Iranians opposed the implementation of the program to crackdown on young people who are deemed to be in violation of the Islamic dress code.
According to Khabar Online’s website, police deputy Moghadam who had been summoned to the Majlis following a rise in violence against the police, told lawmakers, “Close to 49 percent of the public wanted the police to confront those who violated the dress code. This is the second issue that the public demands from the police.”
He did not comment on the other 51 percent.
Photos: Morality Police Hunting "Improperly Clothed" Women In Tehran
Speaking to Ali Motahari, the Majlis representative from Tehran, on the reasons for the positioning of special anti-riot police on the main highways of Tehran, Khabar Online reported the police chief as saying, “These units have been stationed there because of summer, the higher motorcycle traffic and a number of other issues including moral security, confronting those who weave through traffic, un-Islamic attire, the transportation of animas and particularly dogs. It would have been better if the Larger Tehran Police Command had informed the public of the need for this prior to the operations.”
Moghadam blamed personal satellite receivers as the cause of “the spreads of un-Islamic attire” and added, “Today, they threaten national security by attacking morals as is indicated by the existence of 70 satellite network and thousands of Persian language Internet sites who are attacking Iran so as to bring us down to our knees.”
The commander also implicitly referred to the negative public response to the performance of the police force and said, “Today, resistance to the implementation of the plan to improve moral security has been greatly reduced. Of course there are some who oppose the behavior of police officers whom we take into account. Today, the net result of police operations is that moral security has been normalized.”
He did not however make any reference to people’s confrontation of the police force last week.
At the same time, brigadier Ahmad Reza Radan, the deputy commander of police said during a government seminar, “To neutralize Muslim advances in Andalusia, Westerners turned the youth into immoral and pleasure-seeking individuals. Today too, imperialists want to create an “Andalusian Iran.” “Nobody should think that they are immune from the cultural harm of the enemies because the soft war has taken over some individuals who claim to be resilient and resolute in their morals. Today, all the enemies of Islam and the revolution have united against the holy Islamic republic, but some still are unaware of the war of the enemies,” he added.
Radan’s claims that the public supports and desires police operations that crackdown on people who it considers not to be properly dressed come at a time when police brutality has also been aired. The loudest such criticism came from none other than the attorney general Ejhei who according to Aftab website has said, “During summer, people themselves should observe the attire that is suitable for the Islamic republic and the Sharia tenets. It is not right to use force to enforce this unless against those who resist. But even regarding them, it is better to enlighten them.”
Photos: Women Attending Concert In Tehran Arrested By Morality Police
While publishing the remarks of the police chief, Khabar Online at the same published a note on the manner in which people are dealt with on the issue of attire. The note read, “They stop a person who is not properly dressed. Then they engage in verbal abuse and arguments, and eventually force the person into a police patrol vehicle. There, some are released after being given a warning while others are taken to a police or detention center. At the center, the detainees are asked to get in touch with their parents to request them to bring a chador or an overcoat to bring and take possession of their children. In such episodes, many detainees are rounded up on their way to some scheduled event or appointment - some urgent or an emergency - which are all disrupted because of these procedures. If one looks at the people in the line of detainees, one is faced with countless regular women and youth who are sincere and honest citizens detained while they were on their daily chores. It is possible that their hijab may have been inappropriate or not up to the standards. But I wish we could publish the remarks and words of these youth and women, particularly their family members, after they are released from the detainee stations. Who do you think they address through their very angry remarks and hurt feelings?”
... Payvand News - 07/12/12 ... --