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Pahlavi Persia to Islamist Iran and the Debasement of Women Under Islamism :: Liberties Alliance

Pahlavi Persia to Islamist Iran and the Debasement of Women Under Islamism

By • on January 21, 2012

As the Mullahs of Islamist Iran continue their efforts to bring the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon Iranian women continue to suffer under its repressive and misogynistic regime.  The country has not always treated its women in this oppressive and intolerant way.  Pahlavi Persia had been an example of progress for the Islamic world, showing other Muslim countries the way forward into the modern age.  Who knows, if the dynasty had not been undermined and overturned then a distinctly Persian version of modernity may have emerged as a bastion of reason and progress.

Before 1979 Iran was at the cutting edge of progress in the Islamic world, and clamping down on the sharia principles that ensured institutionalised inequality between the sexes – the very principles that would reassert themselves with a vengeance under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini.

Following the creation of the Islamic Republic of Iran the 1967 Family Protection Act that had enhanced the rights of women under the Pahlavi dynasty was annulled in favour of sharia based law.  The effects of sharia on women can be clearly seen by comparing the situation in the country before and after the revolution as the following video illustrates:

As the states of Europe and North America allow themselves to be subverted by sharia principles could they themselves undergo such a drastic and retrograde transformation?  Policy makers in the West should learn from the Iranian experiment with sharia, an experiment that from a humanitarian point of view has, inevitably, gone horribly wrong.  The Western political class should speak out against the principles of sharia and oppose initiatives such as the ‘Istanbul Process’ that may result in the curtailment of freedom of speech.

Like their counterparts in the increasingly sharia compliant United Kingdom, referred to on this website yesterday, woman’s rights activists in Iran are subjected to harassment and persecution.  Women in Iran have campaigned for equality of testimony in court which is also of interest in Britain where sharia courts have been strengthened by legislation.  The campaign by women in Iran for equal rights is therefore very similar to that of Baroness Cox who sponsored the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill that if passed will reduce the power of sharia courts in the United Kingdom.

A woman’s magazine called Zanan managed to highlight women’s issues in Iran after the revolution, but even that was closed down in 2008.  The New York Times wrote in reference to the closure of the magazine:

“…the magazine respected and celebrated Iranian women by offering articles on health, parenting, legal issues, literature and women’s achievements. One recent article argued that laws codifying unequal treatment of women in Islamic countries lacked justification under Islamic law and could be changed. The only psychological threat Zanan posed was to the regime’s authoritarian and anti-feminist pathology.”

It seems quite clear that women will be an important part of a future Islamic reformation, and the conservatives across the Muslim world probably realise that.  While we await the day when liberal Islamic reformers achieve an Islamic Reformation, we must persist in opposing sharia principles in the West, and indeed in all parts of the world.


By TL Winslow @ Historyscoper on January 21st, 2012 at 13:06

It’s sad to study Iran’s history and see how Islam has hijacked it. The current mantra that the 1979 Iranian Revolution is all the fault of the U.S. for helping overthrow Mossadegh in 1953 is moose hockey, because Ayatollah Khomeini backed the shah for 10 years after that, breaking ranks only when he passed reforms to liberate women and promote literacy.

Scope the modern Muslim world with the Historyscoper and get the facts:


By Mary on February 1st, 2012 at 20:12

Great article, just what I wanted to find.