Women run over in Iran to protest lack of head coverings

An Iranian policeman adjusts his mask on a street in Tehran, Iran, on March 7, 2020. The novel coronavirus has claimed 194 lives in Iran, the Ministry of Health and Medical Education announced Sunday. Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the ministry, said the total number of the confirmed cases now stands at 6,566, of whom 2,134 have recovered. Tehran records 1,805 cases of infection, the highest number among the country's provinces, followed by Qom with 685 cases and Mazandaran with 620 cases. (Photo by Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua)
(Photo by Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua)

Two women were seriously injured in Iran on Monday after a man allegedly ran them over with his car because they weren’t wearing head coverings, according to local media reports.

During the incident in Urmia in north-western Iran, the driver loudly protested about the women’s outfit choices, saying they were un-Islamic, according to the Ilna news agency.

This led to a dispute and then he allegedly rammed the women with his car and ran them over.

The women sustained serious injuries but are no longer in a life-threatening condition, according to Ilna.

The driver allegedly attempted to flee the scene but was later arrested.

Judicial officials condemned the attack and said they would not condone vigilante justice.

Masoumeh Ebtekar, vice president for women’s affairs in Iran, called the attack attempted murder and demanded a harsh punishment.

Ever since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, girls aged 9 and older are required to follow Islamic law regarding what they wear. That means a head covering and a long cloak or robe that covers up their hair and the contours of their body.

However, 42 years later, the rules remain unpopular among the majority of women. It is becoming more common in large cities to see women out without the hijab, the customary head covering.

The hijab law is becoming more controversial. Police and justice officials say it is impossible to enforce, since doing so would require hundreds of arrests a day.

At the same time, large parts of the population believe that a failure to wear the hijab will lead to deteriorating morals in the country. There are protests calling for the hijab rules to be enforced, which sometimes result in violence.

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