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What are Iranian Women After?

What are Iranian Women After?

France has just handed the Turkish government a tremendous gift: A manifesto signed by 300 dignitaries including former President Sarkozy along with three former prime ministers, representatives from the Jewish and Christian congregations and authors demanding that certain passages that are deemed anti-Semitic be removed from the Holy Quran.

The only negative aspect of this move is that it is coming from France. As we all know by now Macron is a pragmatic leader who is bent on keeping warm relations with everyone as long as it will get the job done. He was the only European leader willing to host Erdogan, after all. Had the manifesto originated not from France but from the Netherlands, our government would certainly abuse the hell out of it.

While the Islamists are hung up on the French manifesto, another, perhaps more significant move is coming from Iran. Iranian women have started a “Burn the Quran” challenge on social media. They are sharing videos of themselves burning the Holy Quran with the hashtag #Burning_Quran_Challange in English and Persian (چالش_آتش_زدن_قرآن). These women first zoom on the pages of the book they are about to burn, to prove that it is really the Quran, then they go ahead with the video of them committing the act.

One particular woman whose video depicts her burning the Holy Book in her bathroom says “This book is full of superstitions. If everyone really read and understood it, the Islamic Republic would go down instantly.” There is another video that shows the challenger burning the Holy Quran with pre-revolution Traditional Persian music playing in the background. What is really interesting is that these women are not shying away from showing their faces on their videos. A blonde Iranian woman says the following in her video: “I am burning this book because I have been fooled for the last 20 years. I am participating in this challenge for a better Iran and for freedom for the generation to come.” Another simply goes: “This is the 21st century. We must get rid of superstitions.”

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Burning of a Holy Book by a handful of women will certainly not change the world or have any meaningful effect on the Iranian regime. If anything, the regime will use these videos to further oppress the masses. The hardcore conservatives will say “See? Ruhani, a moderate, in in power and we are already seeing a surge in heathenism, dissent and Islamophobia.” They will advocate violence. However, women who have come to hate Islam because of the oppression they had to endure for decades will not change their minds and warm up to religion either. No regime can force the people to love something by simply exerting brute force. The most they can hope for is temporary silence.

This is the big one dilemma of oppressive regimes. The persistent and tenacious policy of fear simply ceases to be effective after a certain point. The women, in Iran, with their faces in full display, burning the Holy Quran, on social media is the definitive proof of the ineffectiveness of Iran’s policy of terrorizing its people.

In short, you cannot force anyone to love anything, even if to you, that thing has the purest, the noblest, and the most honorable intentions.

Originally published at:

About The Author

Nevsin Mengu

Born in Ankara in 1982. Studied Political Science at University of Bilkent. Did her masters on Sociology at University of Galatasaray. Worked at several news outlets like Haberturk and Hurriyet. Mostly covered Middle East as a correspondent. From 2009 to 2010, worked for TRT TURK in Tehran. From 2011 until 2017, anchored CNNTURK 18 o’clock news. Now writing opinion pieces for Birgün newspaper and doing weekly interviews for Deutsche Welle.

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