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IRAN: In a surprise, hard-liners take on Ahmadinejad for being too lax on 'improper' veiling

June 18, 2010 |  8:20 am

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Hard-line clerics are gearing up for a fight over how to reverse the trend of "badly veiled women" whose loose or self-styled interpretations of Islamic dress have been deemed improper by authorities.

Their target, believe it or not, is none other than President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the ultraconservative firebrand.

In a televised interview last week, Ahmadinejad suggested a "cultural campaign" against unsatisfactory veiling rather than the humiliating, unpopular and high-profile police crackdown currently underway.

His comments came weeks after law enforcement agencies stepped up efforts to curb what many within the regime see as a growing threat to the ruling ideology. Babylon & Beyond reported on morality police stopping cars and shutting down stores that sell clothing considered immodest.

But the gray-bearded, self-appointed guardians of public morality struck back during Friday prayers. Guardian Council chief Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati told worshipers during his sermon that to stay silent on the issue of improper hijab, or veil, amounts to a mortal sin, likening gals with hair peeking out from under their scarves to hardened criminals.

"Drug traffickers are hanged, terrorists are executed and robbers are punished for their crimes, but when it comes to the law of God, which is above human rights, [some individuals] stay put and speak about cultural programs," Jannati said, referring to Ahmadinejad.

"Shall we let badly veiled women be free in the society to corrupt our youth?" he added.

In the city of Mashhad, Ayatollah Ahmad Alam Hoda said that badly veiled women represent "a corrupt minority."

– Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photos: Women who show their hair beneath their head scarves are part of a growing trend toward "bad veiling' that has authorities worried. Credits: ILNA
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