His ‘drop turbans’ campaign became a new tactic he used Anti-regime protesters in Iran Those who continue to take to the streets for the ninth week in a row, to express their rejection of the authority of the clergy, who consider them symbols of oppression, corruption and backwardness, and demand their departure from power and their return to mosques and religious seminaries.
Clips are spread daily on social networking sites of Iranian boys or young women sneaking behind the clergy and dropping turbans from their heads in movements that are not free of show and ridicule, which generated a state of great anger among the senior references and mullahs who have held the reins of power in the country for 43 years.
Iranian protests and a picture of Mahsa Amini (AFP)
In addition to the campaign to reject the compulsory veil in protest of the killing of the 22-year-old girl Mahsa (Gina) Amini on September 16 last by the Iranian morality police under the pretext of not wearing the full veil, the phenomenon of dropping turbans has become associated with other revolutionary actions, such as writing slogans on walls and burning Or tearing up pictures of Khomeini, Khamenei, Qassem Soleimani and other symbols of the regime, in addition to hanging symbolic gallows of mullahs’ dolls on bridges.
The rising youth argue that when women and youth are not allowed to wear the clothes they want in the logic of the ruling religious ideology, the campaign to drop the turbans is not just a reaction to repression, but a political act against the authoritarian rule of the clergy.
The regime’s supporters could not remain silent about this phenomenon. The Fars News Agency, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, called for a “firm confrontation against anyone who insults the clothes of clerics.”
Cleric Muhammad Taqi Naqdali, a member of Iran’s Shura Council (parliament), considered the phenomenon of dropping the turban from the head of the clergy a “satanic conspiracy”, and those who do so “play with the lion’s tail,” as he put it.
While some Iranians hailed “turban-throwing” as a revolutionary act, others expressed concern that lower-ranking clerics who do not belong to the state could become victims of harassment and violence.
For her part, lawyer Shadi Sadr, a human rights activist and director of “Justice for Iran” in London, said that this tactic was a “courageous and revolutionary act.” She told Radio Free Europe that “the protesters despise the clergy without resorting to violence.”
“They are targeting the turban of clerics as a symbol of crimes and corruption in the past 43 years, in addition to the privileges enjoyed by clerics,” she added.
But Ahmad Zaidabadi, a journalist close to the reformist movement in Tehran said, “Some of the clerics targeted in the streets may be critics or even victims of the regime’s policies.” He wrote in a tweet on Twitter that “this phenomenon mainly targets clerics who do not hold any government positions,” adding that “senior clerics in high positions in the state rarely appear in public and often enjoy protection from security elements.”
With this movement escalating even in the period before the protests erupted, due to a general sense of alienation from the mullahs, many clerics were forced to appear in public without wearing their religious dress and turban.
With this phenomenon widely spread in various Iranian provinces since the outbreak of the protests, the Iranian authorities announced the arrest of two people linked to this movement in the past few days.
The government newspaper “Iran” reported that the Basij forces arrested a person in the tenth district of Tehran on charges of “dropping turbans from the heads of clerics.” The Sabreen News website also reported the arrest of a person in the city of Babylon on charges of “dropping a cleric’s turban.”
Last week, Iranian media reported that a cleric was taken to hospital after being injured in the city of Karaj, near Tehran, amid anti-regime protests, with the hardline Fars News Agency claiming that protesters attacked the cleric with knives.
For his part, Hassan Farshtian, an Iranian reformist cleric and researcher based in Paris, told Radio Free Aruba that the movement to drop the turbans came “as a result of pent-up anger over the past four decades.”
But he warned that “if the goal is to eliminate the clergy, we may be facing the beginning of violence. In fact, clerics should be excluded from positions of power, but they should not be excluded from society.”
It is noteworthy that the Special Court for Clerics in Iran has issued rulings to remove the turban and the uniform of clerics criticizing the regime or those it deems “undesirable.”