Iranians Outraged over Arrest of Teenager for Instagram Dancing Clips

Iranians Outraged over Arrest of Teenager for Instagram Dancing Clips

Following the arrest of Iranian teenage dancer, Maedeh Hojabri, on Friday and her confession to breaking norms, a number of women in the Islamic Republic have posted videos of themselves dancing in solidarity with Hojabri. The tussle over social codes is nothing new in Iran.

"It wasn't for attracting attention", she said.

The teenager, however, was detained by the Iranian police for those same videos.

The recent arrest of an Iranian teenager for posting dance videos on social media has sparked outrage among activists in the Middle Eastern nation. I did not want to encourage others to do the same.

Her performances had thousands of followers on various accounts with her name on them, ranging from 12,000 to 66,000 followers. The video quickly went viral but also provoked the dismay of conservative Iranian authorities.


In June during the FIFA World Cup 2018, women were for the first time allowed to watch Iran's matches on big screens at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran.

In 2014, six young Iranians were sentenced to a year in prison and 91 lashes for doing a jig to Pharrell Williams' song "Happy", on the streets and rooftops of Tehran.

Iran's judiciary and security forces are dominated by hard-liners who launch periodic crackdowns on behavior deemed un-Islamic. And while authorities sometimes turn a blind eye on some violations of the country's strict laws on female clothing or Western music, Iran still regularly punishes violations to set examples.

Now, Iranian women are sharing Hojabri's videos on their own pages and paying homage to the teen with videos of themselves dancing in public, many without hijab. Earlier this year, an official in the city of Mashhad was arrested after footage emerged showing a crowd of men and women dancing at a mall in the city, while six people were arrested for Zumba dancing in August.

The group was later charged over seeking to "change lifestyles and promote a lack of hijab", a reference to head coverings for women.

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