The Three Women Who Are Detained in Iran

The Three Women Who Are Detained in Iran

Two prominent actresses arrested in Iran for not wearing hijabs as protests continue

Nabila Karim, left, and Reem Khwaja, right, were reportedly arrested after they refused to comply with authorities’ orders not to wear hijabs. Photo: Abolfazl Raghuian/The Washington Post/Getty Images

They would have to remove their hijabs to go outdoors, and they would need permission from their employers to return to work.

When they chose to stay home, they would have to find alternative sources for medical coverage.

The three women face charges of “disobeying a fatwa” or “breach of hijab.” In other words, they were punished for staying home to care for their children.

Their case and those of nearly 200 women who have been arrested since the beginning of the month have set off a national debate over women’s rights in Iran, a heavily Islamic country that has taken several steps to increase Islamic morality over the past decade. Since last year, all women in Iran, including Iranian women who are not wearing hijab, must wear modest clothing (modesty comes with many restrictions: You can’t wear shorts or sandals in Tehran, public transportation stops in all-girls areas during the day, and women face a long list of restrictions when it comes to working and leaving the country).

On the night of December 30, as protests in Tehran turned violent, a series of arrests were made at home and workplaces. Some were released the next day, though many others were detained until after New Year’s Day, when the authorities announced they would release all but a small number of those detained.

In the course of their three-day detention, all three of the women were asked to remove their hijabs and not use them in public. They were charged with “disobeying a fatwa” on January 2. They have been detained since.

The next day, a video of their arrests went viral online, sparking outrage among Iranians, particularly in conservative religious circles, where many are deeply upset over what they believe is the erosion of

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