At least 92 people were killed when Iran cracked down on pro- tests concerning women’s issues. According to an Iranian human rights group, the protests flared up after the fatal arrest of Mahsa Amini by Iran’s morality police.
Amini was a 22-year-old Iranian citizen of Kurdish background. She was pronounced dead on September 16 after she was arrested for allegedly violating the rules regarding women’s hijab scarves and modest clothing. As a result, Iran experienced the largest wave of civil discontent in nearly three years.
Sadly, Mahsa Amini’s case is not the only one of its kind. Iranian women are well aware of the news about violence against women. However, this time was different from the previous cases, even the men said: “Enough is enough.” Because human rights have been ignored for 44 years, violence against women is everywhere; in Iranian law, on the streets, and on TV shows. In Iran, there has been a purposeful effort to create a mind-set where men are pitted against women and vice versa.
Mahsa Amini’s death has sparked protests in more than 150 towns and cities, even in previously conservative provinces such as Mazandaran, as Iranians poured into the streets. The slogans at some of the protests reveal the kind of sentiment that has over-come historical divides between Kurds, Azeris, and Persians when people are united in their desire for justice.
At the same time, government forces have used tear gas and physical force to break up protests and shut down the internet in an effort to suppress and control the protests. The concern is that as the protests continue, the authorities may respond with the ever-increasing use of force.
Women have suffered within their families at the hands of their own husbands. Their activities are limited in society. Fathers fight against their own daughters, brothers against their sisters, and husbands against their wives. This toxic practice seeps into every aspect of life and, taken to its extreme, leads to the acceptance of killing women who behave ‘shamefully’ in order to ‘protect’ the integrity of the family.
Today we can see how Iranian men and women try to stand by each other to help each other. Today, calling for basic rights and fighting for them is not only an issue for women but also for men.
That’s why we, as a team at GCM Ministries, continue to pro- duce programs aired over satellite TV channels and use digital media tools to reach women in the Iranian region.
We are trying to achieve two goals in particular:
1. To help women and girls recognize their individual worth in God’s eyes
2. To give them a platform where their voice is heard and to strengthen their family and community.
We must not remain silent about what is happening in Iran today
We should give a voice to Iranians, keep God’s Word in our hearts and be brave to change the world.
We must pray for the silenced but courageous people of Iran.
I ask you to convey their voices to your own community and church. Let’s hope these voices are heard and influence the deci- sion-makers who can bring about change for the people of Iran.