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'Say her name:' University community protests death of Zhina Amini

Kurdish woman murdered by Iranian 'morality police' after improperly wearing hijab.

photo courtesy of Sophie Hoffmann


Due to the sensitive nature of this article, the author has asked to remain anonymous for their own safety. The Editors have ensured the accuracy and validity of this report.


For Muslim women, be it in the East or West, the freedom to wear a hijab (or not) has been under threat. On the 7th of October, students and members of the Irani community gathered at Elphinstone Lawn for a freedom rally to protest violations of this freedom.


The freedom rally was not only held to protest the death of Zhina Amini, killed by Iran's morality police in early September, but also to stand in solidarity with the men and women in Iran who are fighting to be free of dictatorship.


These protests broke out on 16 September in Iran when Zhina Amini, a Kurdish woman also known as Mahsa Amini, was murdered at the hands of the ‘morality’ police after she was arrested for not donning her hijab properly. She and her brother begged the police to pardon them, but they didn’t.


Zhina was subsequently taken to a 'Guidance Patrol' police station to be educated about the laws in Iran. The police insisted that they had reason to take her.


According to her cousin, Erfan Mortezaei, Zhina was reportedly 'tortured and insulted' on the way to the ‘education centre' where she later collapsed, dying in hospital due to injuries two days later.


Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran, women have been forced into wearing the hijab with the morality police allegedly using the law to abuse, rape and kill women.


Human rights groups and international governments alike allege that Iran’s enforcement of this law, under religious basis, allows an excuse for a violation of human rights. And since 1979, the people of Iran have filled the streets more than once to protest, they’ve always been met with aggressive opposition.


Since 16 September, protests have broken out not only in Iran, but worldwide in support of Iran and its people. And on the 7th of October, the freedom rally at the University echoed their cry for help.


The freedom rally began with talks given by fellow Iranian students, local Iranis and AUSA representatives. A local Irani began by saying, “Your support will help them to continue [the] fight against brutality and discrimination and injustice in all sectors of Iranian people. And gives them reliance to stay in line and fight until freedom.”


AUSA VP for Communities Camilo Torres Barragán spoke next, praising the Iranian community for their bravery and power as well as swiftness to action as the rally was organised in mere days to get their voices heard.


Parand, an Iranian student, told the crowd about the government’s brutal and violent response to the anti-government protests which has led to more deaths that are increasing daily.


Due to an internet blackout imposed by the regime, the exact situation is unclear. However, according to statistics released by the NGO Amnesty International in early October, at least 144 people, including 23 children, have been killed by the government; with reports emerging that police fired on protestors with live ammunition.


Parand went on to say, “What is happening in Iran is [that] tenacious young women [are] starting the biggest feminist revolution we have ever seen, and the world needs to get behind this. So, we urge you all, Iranian and non-Iranian, to come forward to come together in solidarity with innocent people dying in the streets every day and don't let this flame die. Go out, join demonstrations, learn more, inform yourself, and amplify their voices so we can all live in the free world. Say her name.”


Nirvan, one of the organisers of the freedom rally, came up last to speak, “This is not the first time the people have stood up to fight against tyranny, and I can promise you, it won’t be the last time either.” And with his lead, crowd marched the university grounds with chants like

“Zhin, Zhiyan, Azadi” & “Women, life, freedom” & “Mahsa Amini” & “Zhina Amini” & “Say her name”.


Nirvan also added, “I would like to thank everyone who came today to stand in solidarity with the people of Iran in these tragic times. I believe it is very important to show our support for this brave movement and be the voice of those who are putting their lives in line in the hope that one day they would live in a democratic Iran. I also encourage everybody who is concerned about this situation to sign the UK Gov petition to maintain the sanctions and introduce a visa ban on people linked to the Iranian regime.”


Say her name.


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