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These are two posts from BBC Persian, the first dealing with Iranian female soccer players and the second with the negative way way religion affects education in Iran. The reports are of course in Persian, so here I present to you an English summary, as I find these issues worth reporting.

1000481The first report concerns the crackdown of Iranian soccer federation on what it considers “gender ambiguity”. The official line is that they want to filter the trans players – which is bad enough – but the threat of suspension includes any woman player who doesn’t meet the usual hair and dress code for women. “Any appearance contrary to the conventional gender behaviors” is considered a no-no. This includes “short hair”, “men’s clothes”, and “sports dresses”. (Wait, a sports player should not wear sports dresses? I’m confused).

There’s also a “psychological” test which deals with issues like “participating in female gatherings”, “marriage”, “sexual tendencies”, and “the reasons for cutting hairs short”.

If you’re suspected of not being female enough, three male and three female doctors test your breasts and vagina to determine if you’re really a female.

They invoke “fair play”, but it’s just an excuse to repress trans and lesbian players – and even straight ones who don’t meet the norms.

Let me add to the report that men are monitored by dress code too, I remember a player who was suspended for trimming his eyebrows. It’s not as severe as women’s situation though, which sounds scary.

viajar para o irã_mulheres_hijab2Now to the second report which deals with religion and education in Iran. This report indicates that 25% of the time of Iranian students is spent studying religion. Which is comparable only with Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The students are taught that they are supposed to follow the Supreme Leader and help him “destroy the perverts”. Plus, this 25% doesn’t include the ceremonies that the students are obligated to take part in, which are religious and political, and on average take place 126 times a school year.

Children are thought that non-Muslims are najes, which means “unclean”, something that you’re not supposed to touch (other najes things are urine, excrement, blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pigs, and dogs). The Bahai are vilified and pictured as sexually deviant and morally corrupt. Girls are taught to believe in sexist norms of the society.

Children are taught that whenever there’s a contradiction between religion and science they are supposed to side with religion. (I have to add though, we were taught evolution).

This report doesn’t touch on high education which is equally fucked up. There are some mandatory religious courses, such as Islamic Thought 1 & 2, Islamic Ethics, History of Islam…. that every university student should take regardless of their major.

So these were two reports I thought you might find interesting. Until later!

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An Iranian researcher, writer, and teacher who is an ex-Muslim atheist currently living in one of the theocracies in the world, Iran. Interested in literature, philosophy, and political sciences, especially...