Story By: James King, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued a fatwa ruling that female characters in cartoons need to wear a hijab.
The new fatwa, which is a ruling by a recognised higher authority on a point of Islamic law, indicates that in the future, female characters will need to wear a hijab to be considered appropriate.
The move means that female cartoon characters from Jessica Rabbit through to Lisa Simpson, the Disney princesses and even Betty Boop will need to wear the traditional Islamic dress.
The ruling came after a question-and-answer session with a telegram user asked if observing compulsory hijab was something that characters in animated cartoons needed to follow.
Iranwire and local news agencies quoted the religious leader is saying: “Although wearing hijab in such a hypothetical situation is not required per se, observing hijab in animation is required due to the consequences of not wearing hijab.”
He was referring to the fact that since Islamic revolution 40 years ago, women have to cover their hair for the sake of modesty and those who fail to do so are targeted by the country’s ‘morality police’ the Gasht-e Ershad.
Twenty years ago, that meant women would be fined or even given lashes but nowadays it means jail terms with, for example, three Iranian women in August 2019 being given 55 years in prison for not following the Islamic dress code to mark International Women’s Day.
It is unclear how the ruling would be enforced although Teheran does impose strict censorship laws on the film industry and on the content that is allowed to be shown. Anything that is deemed immoral or offensive ends up censored and anything hostile to Islamic values is banned.
It will further strengthen the arguments of those in the ultraconservative camp who feel that any foreign films where women appear without the hijab should be banned as it encourages rebellious thoughts among women in the country.
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