July 7, 2010

Muslim 'Anti-Vice' Campaign In Iran

Iran Issues List of Approved Muslim Hairstyles For Men

6th July 2010
by Michael Theodoulou
Daily Mail

Iran is set to order a crackdown on men sporting 'un-Islamic' haircuts.

Long hair and ponytails are definitely out this summer - though a dab of gel is acceptable, according to the country's morality police.

And a beard is no longer required as a symbol of political and religious correctness.

A photographic catalogue of permissible 'Islamic' hairstyles is to be published and promoted later this month at the 'Modesty and Veil Festival'.

Iran’s dour Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has given the project its vital seal of approval.

'The proposed styles are inspired by Iranians’ complexion, culture, religion and Islamic law,' said Jaleh Khodayar, the festival’s female organiser.

A tantalising foretaste of what is folically acceptable was provided by Iranian news agencies yesterday, which carried pictures of mostly clean-shaven male models sporting short hair.

Hardliners have frequently raged against youths with 'decadent Western cuts'.

But the red lines governing male grooming have never been clearly identified – until now.

Those aping the elaborate styles of some millionaire European football stars have been hauled off to police stations where their beloved locks have been unceremoniously and inexpertly shorn.

First-time offenders braving a close shave with the law get off with an unflattering short-back-and-sides.

But serial hair delinquents risk stiff fines, while barber shops catering to Western fashions have been shut.

Dictating public behaviour and enforcing the strict dress code – especially for women – have long been a way for the regime to demonstrate its control.

But it has been an uphill struggle for an anti-Western regime dealing with a population seduced by Western pop culture.

The dress code crackdown is always beefed up at the beginning of summer when temperatures soar and people wear cooler clothing.

The authorities scornfully brand as 'mannequins' women who flout the rules by thrusting back their obligatory headscarves, wearing a dash of make-up or flashing a bit of ankle.

This summer, for the first time, police were equipped with cameras to film 'immodestly-attired' women, with the footage to be used as irrefutable evidence in court.

But men have also been feeling the heat in this summer’s 'anti-vice' campaign.
Police have seized expensive foreign cars whose male drivers are deemed to be 'harassing women'.

To humiliate the car owners, state media have shown pictures of their vehicles lined up along Tehran streets festooned with placards proclaiming, 'Combating harassment of women'.

Also under hardline scrutiny this summer is the growing fashion in Tehran’s wealthier northern suburbs to keep dogs – which are considered 'unclean' under Islamic tradition – as pets.

A senior cleric issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, against the practice last month.

'Friendship with dogs is a blind imitation of the West,' thundered Grand Ayatollah Naser Makerem Shirazi. 'There are lots of people in the West who love their dogs more than their wives and children.'