Student society compared to Taliban for censoring student photos

On May 22, a student from Amir Kabir University, also known as Polytechnic of Tehran, posted a photo of an information board about the upcoming Islamic Student Society elections online. Only male candidates were photographed.

This was widely seen as a sign of the times. In late April, it was reported that motorcycle “morality police” patrols had been active on the campus of former liberal and progressive Amir Kabir, harassing and berating students – especially female students – over their outfits.

The student who posted the photo, Behnam Hosseini, noted that nine young women were running for office, all of whom had their photos deleted. “What century are these people living in, being ashamed of sticking 3×4[cm] pictures of girls? he tweeted. “How low have we fallen that student associations are now controlled by this mob?

Hosseini’s complaint has been retweeted over 600 times and almost 10,000 times. Some of the respondents compared it to what the Taliban were doing in Afghanistan. Others claimed, however, that the female students themselves were comfortable with it, which allowed them to run in the first place.

Iranian student societies are now largely affiliated with the Student Basij, whereas until the early 2000s there was still a proliferation of secular and pro-democracy groups. To weaken the student movement, the security establishment, university security departments and the Basij closed most of the offices of these companies and banned many of them. Candidates for their committees must now be approved by the security divisions.

How did Amir Kabir get here?

Once upon a time, Amir Kabir’s students were known for their anti-government rallies and calls for liberal democracy in Iran. Today, a student activist by the name of Mohammad told IranWire: “The Islamic society Amir Kabir is no longer different from the student Basij. This happened in all Iranian universities considered important by the government. Only a small number of Islamic societies, which remain basically silent, have remained in the hands of reformists – if you can call them reformists.

“In 2007, after a series of summonses and arrests of members, they demolished the society’s office and handed over the permits to the student Basij. For the past 16 years, the “Islamic Society” has belonged to those associated with the Basij. In college, we call them the “false society” or the “Basiji society”.

The office was destroyed after students protested the visit of then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, forcing him to leave. Pictures of the destroyed office can still be found online. During Hassan Rohani’s presidency, Mohammad said, Amir Kabir University issued permits only for three other societies to students who followed the Basiji lineage. This cleansing of student politics, of course, was not limited to the Amir Kabir/Tehran Polytechnic, but took place throughout the country.

Misogyny against even dead women

Mahdieh Golroo, a former political prisoner who was a member of the Islamic Society of Students at Allameh Tabatabie University in Tehran and now lives in exile in Sweden, told IranWire: “The removal of photos of candidates from the Islamic Society follows the removal of images of girls from school textbooks and funeral notices for deceased women. By restricting the fields women can choose to study in, imposing gender quotas and now removing their faces from campaign billboards, the Islamic Republic wants to squeeze women out of higher education.

A law passed by the seventh parliament in the mid-2000s allowed the National Educational Testing Organization, which administers university entrance exams, to restrict the number of women allowed to enroll in order to “to create the correct ratio” and to “safeguard the sanctity of the family”. Between 2012 and 2013 alone, the number of women entering university decreased by 8,600. All of them were replaced by men.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, chairman of the Guardian Council in 2008, said of the law: “One of the problems that the university education of women has caused us is that when suitors seek marriage, the first question that arises is perhaps his level of education. They [women] should know that they are destroying their own lives and the country will also face problems. The university education of women has become problematic.

Then, in 2012, more than 30 universities introduced new rules prohibiting female students from taking nearly 80 different courses. These included engineering, nuclear physics, computer science, English literature, archeology and business.

“The Islamic Republic does not want women to participate in social and political spheres, but also wants to claim that it is women themselves who do not want to,” Golroo said. “In the last legislative elections, only 10% of women who registered were approved as candidates.”

Golroo argues that it is not an individual who is pushing these policies, but a pervasive thought pattern informing Iranian institutions that stems from the Supreme Leader down. “A school forces little girls to wear the chador, a university orders female students not to use nail polish, and a president can decide on a whim that women can’t go to class after dark. . All of this is the result of a systemic and misogynistic worldview. Iran’s patriarchal religious system wants to eliminate women from public life and own both their body and their mind.