05/26/2018, 09.23
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Rouhani: in Iran, stadiums open to women, banning access is not pro-Islam

Meeting with a group of athletes the Iranian president hopes for the cancellation of a ten-year norm. He emphasizes that there must be no "differences" between men and women. But access must be conditioned, like other activities, by the obligation of the veil. Recently a group of young women dressed as a man, with a mustache, to watch a football match.

Tehran (AsiaNews) - "In Islam there should be no difference between man and woman", and for this reason women should be able to "participate" in complete freedom "at sporting events". With these words, spoken during a meeting with a group of athletes at the Palace in recent days, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for the cancellation of the norm that effectively prevents women from attending sporting events.

The Iranian leader's warning refers to a decade-long rule that allows only men to cross the gates of stadiums, centers and arenas in which sports competitions are held. The law dates back to 1979 and is the result of the imposition of the ayatollahs [the Shiite religious leaders] in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution that led to the expulsion of Shah Reza Pahlevi.

In his speech, Rouhani was highly critical of the decision of religious authorities to banish women from games and competitions, emphasizing that in Iran women are very active in many sports fields. And, thanks to their preparation and determination, they have been able to achieve prestigious goals in recent years as happened in the case of "women motorcyclists".

"Perhaps preventing women from attending sports competitions - added Rouhani - within the stadiums is some benefit to Islam?". A position that clashes with some recent statements by the ayatollahs that women should not listen to men who "scream and curse" during games. Women must not be punished, the president added, for the vulgar behavior of men. He also hoped that the sports practiced by women will be broadcast on television, especially if teams or individuals can be distinguished for their triumphs in the field.

"True Islam - he continued - does not prohibit women's social commitment. Islam does not say that all women must stay home. He affirms that women can participate in all social activities by wearing hijab "but remarking the obligatory use of the veil, the subject of a recent campaign led by women that resulted in arrests and clashes.

In support of the president comes the proposal of the Iranian vice-president for Women and Family policies Masoumeh Ebtekar, who asks that some sectors of stadiums and buildings be reserved for the fair sex and their families. An idea already rejected in the past by the ayatollahs.

Many Iranian women disagree with the position of the religious leadership that (in fact) holds power in the country; some of them have begun to challenge these rules, breaking the taboo that prevents them from entering the stadiums.

Some of them did it recently, disguising themselves as men to get around the bans at the entrances.A few weeks ago in Teheran, a small group of five women - Leili, Mohadeseh, Shabnam, Zeinab and Zahra - crossed the gates of the Azadi Stadium to see their Persepolis favorites beat the rivals of the Sepidrood Rasht and win the championship . Wearing mustaches and trousers (in the picture) they crossed the gates and documented their feat on social networks, where their tweets immediately became viral.

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