Iranian chess master: Hijab 'limits' women instead of 'protecting' them

Hejazipour added that the hijab serves as lucid representation of a set of beliefs that designate women as "the second sex."

Hijabs for sale are pictured at a stall of Tanah Abang textile market in Jakarta (photo credit: REUTERS)
Hijabs for sale are pictured at a stall of Tanah Abang textile market in Jakarta
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Female Iranian chess grandmaster Mitra Hejazipour has openly claimed that the hijab serves as a "limitation" for women not "protection," demonishing the country's compulsory hijab dress codes in an Instagram post on Tuesday.
Hejazipour added that the hijab serves as lucid representation of a set of beliefs that designate women as "the second sex."
"It creates many limitations for women and deprives them of their basic rights. Is this protection? I say definitely not, it is solely and merely a limitation," she wrote.
Hejazipour claimed further, that starting around the age of six, a relative used to bully her into consistently wearing her hijab, even around the house. At the age of 27, after more than 20 years of consistently wearing a hijab everywhere she goes and considering she has now become "an example to others," the chess grandmaster has decided "not to have a share in this horrendous lie and not to play the game of 'We love the hijab and have no problem with it' anymore."
She protested in clear dismay of the hijab late last December, when she removed her hijab during the World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship in Moscow - a move that got her sacked from the Iranian national team and expelled from the Iranian Chess Federation after playing for the Islamic Republic for over 18 years.
Hejazipour was the first Iranian athlete in four decades to represent her country without wearing the compulsory hijab following the Islamic Revolution.
"She has no place in the Islamic Republic's national team anymore," the president of Iran's Chess Federation, Mehrdad Pahlavanzadeh said.
Since Iran’s Islamic Revolution 40 years ago, women have been forced to cover their hair for the sake of modesty. Violators are publicly admonished, fined or arrested. There are also instructions for women clerks in many Tehran shopping centers to wear a maghnaeh (black hood) instead of a simple hijab, or face the possible consequence of having their business shut down.
While there are no expressly written laws compelling women to wear hijab in Iran, following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, government and religious officials have set their own standards of dress for the entire public – with many restrictions of dress and etiquette being targeted at women in particular.
Eventually, the incorporation of compulsory hijabs became law everywhere. Places of business were obligated to hang signs that said "no entry without hijab" and those who defied the compulsory codes faced detainment, fines and even lashes in the 1980s and 1990s.
Today those penalties substituted for extensive prison terms, evident in last year's case involving three Iranian women who were sentenced by the Iranian Revolutionary Court to prison terms of at least 16 years each for disobeying the country's Islamic dress code. Dress code requirements in the Islamic Republic necessitate that women wear headscarves as well as long garments covering both the torso and legs at minimum.


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