We at Musawah extend our heartfelt condolences to Mahsa Zhina Amini’s family and stand in solidarity with them, and with our sisters, activists and advocates in Iran.
At the age of 22, Mahsa’s life and future were brutally extinguished while in the custody of Iran’s morality police (Gasht-e-Ershad). Like thousands of women before her, Mahsa was detained by state apparatus for ‘improper’ observance of the country’s compulsory hijab laws. Police confirmed that she collapsed and was transferred to hospital where she was pronounced dead on 16 September.
We at Musawah, a global movement working for equality and justice in the Muslim family, are appalled by the use of Islam to justify the institutionalisation of violence and discrimination against women and the constant policing of their bodies. We find this in total contradiction to the spirit and letter of our faith. Mahsa’s death comes on the heels of intensified repressive state policies that have targeted women’s bodies with impunity. Since the unrest began, the excessive and arbitrary use of firearms against unarmed protestors has resulted in now over 40 people killed, and thousands arrested.
We believe that the compulsory enforcement of hijab in any Muslim country and the forced removal of it in others, are both state policies that directly deny women their bodily autonomy and freedom of choice. Musawah condemns the use of Islam as a weapon to perpetuate violence and harm against women. We hold firmly to the Qur’anic principle of “no compulsion in religion” (2:256).
We know that the weaponisation of Islam by regressive forces in Muslim countries and the increase of Islamophobia across the world are two sides of the same coin. Both use our religion to control and dominate women, while erasing their dignity and agency. We believe this discourse is enabled by state laws, especially in family and morality laws that create the conditions for tragedies like Mahsa’s. We demand reform of laws that enshrine injustice against women and prevent them from living their full humanity as intended by God. We urge the following actions:
- We call all Muslims to stand in solidarity and to amplify the voices of women in Iran.
- We call Muslim leaders and thinkers from all countries, races, genders, and sects to stand in solidarity with the voices of people in Iran who are fighting for their right to freedom, dignity, and justice.
- We ask for the immediate release of all those arrested at the ongoing protests and for Iranian authorities to explain the circumstances that led to Mahsa Zhina Amini’s death.
- We demand a thorough review and repeal of oppressive laws; which claim to be informed by Islam while in fact stand in direct opposition to the Qur’anic moral ethos and its stern command to manifest ‘adl (justice) and ihsan (beauty & goodness) across all time and place (16:90)
- We ask global manufacturers and providers of biometric products to cease operations with states that police women’s bodies and surveil citizens curtailing their right to movement and choice.
Rest in Power Mahsa and all women and people who have lost their lives at the hands of those who use religion as a tool for repression and injustice. We condemn those who persecute women in the name of Islam, and vow solidarity with those protesting against the murder of #MahsaAmini.
In Solidarity, Musawah
For Media Requests:
Fatima Qureshi, Communications Programme Officer, [email protected]
Musawah Resources List:
Muslim Family Laws: What Makes Reform Possible? Link here.
Islam and the Question of Gender Equality. Link here.
CEDAW and Muslim Family Laws. Link here.
Why Muslim Family Law Reform? Why Now? Link here.
For a full list of our resources, check the link here. Most of our resources are also available in Arabic and Farsi.
Musawah is the global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family.