Mehsa Amini’s killing
The killing of Mehsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman by morality police near capital city Tehran on 16 September generated unexpected hullabaloo in the country shaking its so-called Islamic political system to its foundations. Government is unable to suppress the annoyed protesters mainly young women, despite all of its crushing tactics and killing over 100 demonstrators. Public anger flared after Amini’s unfortunate arrest and torture to death for allegedly breaching Iran’s strict rules for women on wearing hijab headscarves and modest clothing is out of control.
The movement has spiraled out of the borders and now worldwide protests are being held in solidarity with the growing uprising in Iran demanding greater freedom and protesting over the killing of Amini. Demonstrations under the slogan “Women, life, liberty” are taking place in many major cities, including Rome, Zurich, Paris, London, Seoul, Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney, Stockholm and New York.
Unfortunately, Iran is under the rule of conservative clerics since 1979 who are distorting Islamic teachings and violating human rights only to remain in power. Civil laws are nearly unbearable for women making their lives difficult. They are forced to cover their heads with hijab in public or face 60 days in prison and receive 74 lashes in the punishment. A married woman may not obtain a passport to travel outside the country without the written permission of her husband. There are also media reports citing several cases that morality police arrested and tortured women who used highly pigmented lipstick and wore “erotic shoes”.
Like most of other Muslim countries, Iran is wasting its energies on non-issues while leaving real problems neglected. Its economy is devastated due to crippling the US sanctions over its nuclear program, and regional power game. Although it holds some of the world’s largest deposits of proven oil and natural gas reserves, ranking as the world third-largest and second-largest reserve holder of oil and natural gas, respectively, it cannot export its petroleum products in full potential. Due to sanctions, it is impossible in Iran to issue bank guarantees and transfer money overseas, open letters of credit for Iranian companies and individuals abroad, to get visas for economic operators from many countries and receive full revenue from electricity exports.
Moreover, many prominent European and Asian companies have suspended technology transfer contracts with Iran and withdrawn from Iranian market, exacerbating unemployment situation and poverty rate in the country. According to a recent study published by the Iranian Parliamentary Research Centre, 30 percent of the population is facing difficulties in meeting daily needs but unofficial reports indicate the number as 70 percent. That is why; educated and skilled individuals prefer to settle abroad and over 42,000 Iranians migrated to neighboring Turkey in just one year, 2019. According to a BBC report, 1,500,000 to 1,800,000 educated Iranian citizens migrate to other countries annually, putting Iran high in the list of countries badly affected by brain drain.
Undoubtedly, Iran is the target of hostility and conspiracies of big powers like the United States, Israel, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. It is also true that Iran is turning around its enemies on little finger, although at the expense of its poor populace. But the government’s shoddy policies are rapidly dividing the society and making the state’s foundations “the house of termites” which can topple it at any time. People are getting disappointed with the religious dictatorship in the country as their complaints are falling on deaf years. It seems that Iranian government is busy only in day dreaming of exporting its so-called Islamic revolution abroad and not serious to solve domestic problems.
Looking deep at the issue in historical perspective, Islamic state is a mirage that is being chased by Muslims for the last 13 centuries. Muslim philosophers of the middle ages like Al-Farabi, Al-Mawardi, Al-Ghazali and Ibn-i-Tamiyyah and scholars of modern age like Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Ali Shariati and Maulana Abul A’la Maududi, all dreamt of reestablishing the Madina state, founded by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and glorified by the glorious rule of pious caliphs till Amir Muawiya. But all of their theories and thoughts are proven fruitless to rebuild an ideal Islamic state. The reason is simple but still incomprehensible for religious zealots and emotional minds; that is, how is it possible to travel back in time? After the Madina state, world has turned upside down for numerous times in long thirteen centuries. It has witnessed various civilizations leaving behind inferior ones on the path of evolution and development. Human lifestyles have changed to a great degree and it is impossible to adopt old social, economic and political models. But for the satisfaction of religious minds, it is enough to advice, “Please implement Islam in your own life and you will see it all around.”
The writer is a multimedia journalist and analyst, based in Islamabad. He may be contacted at: email@example.com.