Virtue in the Islamic Republic

On the question of women wearing the hijab, a contentious issue in a country with millions unhappy about the mandatory religious code, [newly-elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani] said he was against the crackdown against women with loose clothing – but he stopped short of saying it should be left as voluntary.

Each summer, as the heat bears down and makes it difficult for women and men in Iran to stick to their forced Islamic dress code, the religious police go out on to the streets to watch out for loose hijabs, inappropriate dress or hairstyles.

“I’m certainly against these actions,” said Rouhani, saying a women without a hijab is not necessarily without virtue.

“If a women or a man does not comply with our rules for clothing, his or her virtue should not come under question … In my view, many women in our society who do not respect our hijab laws are virtuous. Our emphasis should be on the virtue.”

–The Guardian, July 2, 2013