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Tags: Iran | acid | modesty law | hardliners | Rouhani

Thousands of Iranians Protest Recent Acid Attacks on Women

By    |   Thursday, 23 October 2014 06:58 AM EDT

Several thousand Iranians in the city of Isfahan demonstrated against a spate of acid attacks against women, The New York Times reported.

Such rallies are frowned upon by authorities. This one was organized via social media, The Times reported.

The victims, about 8 in total in recent weeks, were attacked by men on motorcycles presumably because they were not sufficiently veiled. Some were left blinded or disfigured.

Iranian law requires women to wear a hijab head covering and loose-fitting attire.

There have been conflicting reports about whether any suspects have been taken into custody, Radio Liberty reported.

Iran's semi-official Fars news agency said the attacks were not carried out because the women were immodestly dressed, but did not give any other possible motives.

Over the objections of President Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian parliament, which like the judiciary is dominated by religious hardliners, recently passed a law protecting those who reprimand others for behaving in an "un-Islamic" way, The Times reported.

The Isfahan protesters called on the city's official religious authorities to condemn rather than downplay the attacks. Referencing an Islamic tenet to propagate virtue and prevent vice, the demonstrators chanted, "We do not want to propagate virtues by acid," The Times reported.

Religious hardliners fear that unless they enforce existing behavioral strictures, adherence to them will slacken, particularly in more sophisticated urban areas.

Rouhani sees the new law as a political maneuver by his comparatively more conservative opponents. "The sacred call to virtue is not the right of a select group of people, a handful taking the moral high ground and acting as guardians," Rouhani said, according to The Times.

Scores of women, mostly in Muslim countries or in countries with large Muslim populations, have been victims of acid attacks usually on grounds of modesty, according to the Bulletin of the Oppression of Women.

In India earlier this year, a man outraged that his two stepdaughters would not follow through on a financially lucrative, arranged marriages attacked them with acid as they slept, critically injuring them both,  Z News of India reported.

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Several thousand Iranians in the city of Isfahan demonstrated against a spate of acid attacks against women and a recent law protecting those who punish people for "un-Islamic" behavior.
Iran, acid, modesty law, hardliners, Rouhani
Thursday, 23 October 2014 06:58 AM
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