Majlis Research Center Censures Hijab Bill

Majlis Research Center Censures Hijab Bill	Majlis Research Center Censures Hijab Bill

Outlines of a bill on the ‘Preservation of Chastity and Hijab’ (Islamic dress code) “are unacceptable and must be removed from the special and joint commissions” of the Majlis, the legislature’s top think-tank said at the weekend.

According to a report by the Majlis Research Center, which in detail expounds implementation and outcome of the bill, there is “no tangible evidence to suggest that intensifying disciplinary action against women with inappropriate clothing would help improve the issue of the hijab,” reports IRNA.

Unbecoming scarves and dress codes are considered a misdemeanor as per a note in Article 638 of the Criminal Code of Procedure for Public and Revolutionary Courts of the Islamic Republic of Iran, by which women who appear in public places without proper Islamic attire, shall be sentenced from ten days to two months’ imprisonment or a fine of $1.5-15 (50,000 - 500,000 rials).

The report underlines that despite the regulations and systemic promotion of Islamic dress code, variations of divergent Islamic clothing patterns have emerged in the country.

‘Preservation of Chastity and Hijab’ bill was proposed to Parliament on October 8, 2014 proposing a revision of the current laws related to religious dress codes, ensuring respect for rules through more varied methods, outlining legal action against violators, and stepping up punishments and penalties.

The report says the overall framework of the bill is not acceptable. Elaborating on the other deficiencies, the report noted, “Disregard for public demand and lack of consensus on legal action against inappropriate hijab, could adversely affect people-government bonds and prompt public resistance, while undermining the value of the social virtue.”

It implied that implementing the bill would give rise to the notion that people can disregard social virtues by paying cash penalties, and it is uncertain whether the plan would work given the previous experiences and their ensuing social cost. The structure of the plan lacks transparent logical links, and penalties at times are incompatible with the misdeed. Hence, implementing it without the proper groundwork could entail adverse setbacks, the center warned.

General outlines of the bill have been reviewed and approved by the Joint Judicial, Legal and Cultural Commission of Majlis.

Laleh Eftekhari, a Tehran lawmaker and member of the powerful Cultural Commission said a joint workgroup has been formed comprising members of the research center, Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, Interior Ministry, and the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to review the shortcomings in the bill because “most MPs who voted for it have called for amendments.”

It may be recalled that in January, Vice-President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi, had called for the promotion of Islamic dress code through cultural awareness programs, but said that women should be allowed to “voluntarily choose their own dress.”

Visiting an exhibition promoting ‘Iranian-Islamic Lifestyle,’ she was quoted as saying by ILNA that women “should have the right to choose from the variety of clothing that exists according to their own aesthetic sense, as well as the price and availability of the apparels.”