IRAN: Mannequin, veil thyself

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Iranian police have warned shop owners against displaying unveiled mannequins or ones with sexy curves in their shop windows, according to the official IRNA news agency.'Using unusual mannequins exposing body curves and with heads without hijabs are prohibited to be used in the shops,’ police said.

Authorities have also advised shop owners against showing mannequins wearing neckties and bow ties, which are considered Western and un-Islamic, and have banned male clerks from selling women’s underwear, news reports say. Meanwhile, the police have called on the union of dress shop owners to challenge shops not to violate ‘safeguarding religious values and the Islamic revolution.’


The mannequin warning reemphasized the authorities’ ban on displaying immoral photos as well, reported the Associated Press. Although the letter from the authorities did not provide any details on the ban, such statements generally refer to pictures of Western celebrities, music bands and English words.

The crackdown is part of a larger government campaign against Western influence and enforcement of dress codes. ‘Un-Islamic behavior’ has increasingly been targeted since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005, and there have been calls for stricter dress codes.

Last year, police cracked down on women wearing tight pants in an annual campaign against un-Islamic clothing, also known locally as bad hijab. In 2007, the campaign also appeared to have targeted men when at least 20 barbershops in Tehran were shut down by police for offering customers Western hairstyles, tattooing and eyebrow-plucking for men.

First-time dress code violators are usually cautioned, but repeat dress code offenders can end up in court or face enrollment in ‘guidance classes.’

-- Alexandra Sandels in Beirut