Female cartoon characters on Iranian television must wear hijab, as per a new ruling by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He further added that though it is not necessary for the women in cartoons and anime films to have their hair covered, a hijab is required because of the consequences associated with not following the practice.
Tasnim News Agency, a pro-regime news agency, had asked Khamenei if he believes it was essential for the female characters of animated films to observe hijab. He replied, “‘Although wearing hijab in such a hypothetical situation is not required per se, observing hijab in animation is required due to the consequences of not wearing hijab.”
Khamenei did not explain what ‘consequences’ he was referring to. However, according to activists, he had earlier suggested he was fearful that the girls would grow up and not wear hijab.
Activists believe the ruling is toxic
The political activists have termed the ruling as toxic. They further added that those who are in power in Iran are obsessed with everything associated with women. Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist and activist, said on Twitter, “This isn’t a joke! The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran has announced women even in animations, should wear hijab! Even female insects like bees have their hijabs on! Their obsession with the hair of female anything is toxic. These people are in power in Iran.”
This isn’t a joke!— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) February 20, 2021
The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran has announced women even in animations should wear hijab!
Even female insects like bees have their hijabs on!
Their obsession with the hair of female anything is toxic. These people are in power in Iran. pic.twitter.com/HSZ9P4H9XQ
Arash Azizi shared a report on the issue and said, “In case you thought the Grand Ayatollah Khamenei wasn’t focused on core issues of interest for #Iran and Iranians.”
Heba Yosry, a teacher from Egypt, said, “The absurdity of this is beyond my comprehension. Is the fear that girls will grow up and not wear hijab? Or that cartoon characters might be seductive to some adults? Is this what #Islam has become?”
The absurdity of this is beyond my comprehension. Is the fear that girls will grow up and not wear hijab? Or that cartoon characters might be seductive to some adults? Is this what #Islam has become? https://t.co/rUbmyxKPVs— Heba Yosry (@HebaYosry17) February 22, 2021
Iran’s censorship laws on the film industry
There are a lot of restrictions on the Iranian film industry. Men and women cannot have physical interactions. Controversial topics cannot be discussed in the scripts. The scenes that are deemed immoral or offensive to the regime are often removed, and films that are considered hostile to Islamic value are prohibited.
There have been demands from the ultra-conservative figures in Iram to ban foreign films where women are not wearing the hijab. Khamenei had earlier said that the programs of the West lead to ‘misleading thoughts and factual misrepresentations’.
History of persecution for not wearing Hijab in Iran
Since the 1979 revolution, Iranian women must wear hijab or face persecution. It should cover their head and neck and conceal their hair. In October 2020, a woman was arrested for insulting the Islamic Hijab after her video went viral in which she was cycling without wearing one. At that time, Mojataba Raei, governor of Najafabad, had said that she was arrested for violating norms and insulting the Islamic veil.