Female football fans donned fake beards, mustaches and wigs to sneak into a major soccer match in Iran in defiance of the country’s strict Islamic codes of conduct.
Pictures of the women wearing their disguises as well as videos were released after the event as participants sought to show the world their eagerness to defy Iran’s rulers and their religious rulings on female chastity and piety.
Iranian women have long been banned from men’s soccer matches in the Islamic Republic based at least partly on the theory that females should not hear fans swear. Prior to the Islamic revolution of 1979, women were allowed to attend sporting events.
In February, women were allowed to watch a major basketball game in Tehran – but they had to sit in an area separate to men. This followed marches through the streets of Iran led by women calling for greater freedom and the ability to chose for themselves how to live their lives, down to the most basic right to choose how they dress.
Women have been punished for attending games in the past. In 2014, British-Iranian activist Ghoncheh Ghavami was detained after attempting to watch a men’s volleyball match in Iran. And in March 2018 35 women were detained for trying to attend a football match.
The response in Iran was mixed, although there were also supporters.
“I am very proud of them and impressed that they can be so fearless because it is a huge risk that they do that,” Melody Safavi, Iranian women’s rights activist and singer told Reuters.
Safavi is in the Iranian reggae band Abjeez, whose song Stadium calls on Iranian men to support women in their fight to be allowed into sports fixtures. She lives in self-imposed exile in America.
Last year Iran banned some of its women players from billiard sports competitions for a year for violating the Islamic codes of conduct at a tournament in China, as Breitbart Jerusalem reported.
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