February 8, 2018
Washington DC: The American Mideast Coalition for Democracy has come out in support of the widespread protests led by Iranian women against being forced to wear the hijab or other veiling such as the chador, burqa or niqab.
“Forced conformity is always cruel, but forcing women to veil is particularly malign due to the fact that it obscures a woman’s individuality, making her invisible as a person and thus enforcing the idea that women are lesser beings, undeserving of individuality and personal agency,” said AMCD Secretary Rebecca Bynum. “Our troops refer to veiled women in Afghanistan and Iraq as BMOs – black moving objects. I think that sentiment speaks for itself.”
“Veiling acts as a sensory deprivation chamber,” says Dr. Phyllis Chesler, author of Islamic Gender Apartheid: Exposing a Veiled War Against Women, “millions of women have lived their entire lives having never felt the sun on their faces or the wind in their hair. A burqa is a moveable prison, and is not a courageous way of resisting alleged racism or historic colonialism as some assert.”
Dr. Chesler continued, “Since hijab or head covering does not obscure identity or block the senses, I do not oppose it—and yet, I am inspired by the women who are, globally, burning their hijab in solidarity with the Iranian women who are risking arrest and death in order to protest being forced to wear one. One can only hope that American feminists are paying attention.”
AMCD stands proudly with the women of Iran.
AMCD also calls on the Islamic Republic of Iran to release all Americans being held in prison. Robert Levinson has been held since March 9, 2007 and has not been heard from for many years and was not among the Americans released as part of the Iran Deal. Baquer Namazi, 81and in poor health, was briefly allowed to be hospitalized for tests recently, but was returned to prison afterward. His son, Siamek Namazi was imprisoned during a visit to Iran in the fall of 2015. Baquer traveled to Iran to visit his son and was also imprisoned. Both face charges of espionage.