TEHRAN, 5 Sept. (IPS) Several Iranian fundamentalist women demonstrated Saturday in front of the French Embassy in Tehran denouncing what they described as France’s “anti-hejab interdiction laws”.
The women, all basijis (volunteers, controlled by the conservatives) wearing black chadors or dressed in full “Islamic” gear, -- baggy head to toe shirts in dark colours -- and belonging to some so-called “non government organisations” chanted slogans such as “Death to Anti-freedoms”, “France the liar, where is your slogan of liberty?’ or “France’s laws are our shame” etc.
But eyewitnesses said the women had been bussed to the spot.
Contrary to most Arab countries that offered their help to France to free the journalists, Iran did nothing.
The demonstrators also called for a meeting with the French ambassador to Tehran.
The Iranian clerical-led authorities allowed the demonstrations as two French journalists are still at the hand of the Islamic Army of Iraq that has conditioned their release to the abolition of the “Secularity Law” that bans all visible signs of belonging to any religion or ideology inside public schools in France.
Observers noted that the Islamic Republic had strongly denounced the incriminated law from the outset, describing it as a measure aimed at the Muslim’s freedom to observe the hejab, or the Islamic mandatory dress for Muslim women.
However, the law went into effect on 2 September throughout of France with almost no major incident reported, as many young Muslim girls took off their headscarf to express their solidarity with the imprisoned journalists.
Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, working for Radio France International and the centre of right newspaper Le Figaro went missing on 20 August on their way from Baghdad to Najaf to cover the fighting between Iraqi and American forces with the followers of the rebel Shi’a cleric Moqtada al Sadr’s Army of Mahdi, on the name of the Shi’a’s twelfth Imam that went in the hiding at the age of eight and is expected to re-appear the world once it is full of sin and corruption.
The abduction of the men triggered a wave of national unity among all French political and religious personalities and organisations and angered the public opinion, mostly because France was the flag bearer of nations opposing American and British plans to attack Iraq.
The Islamic Republic had strongly denounced the law that went into effect on 2 September, with almost no major incident.
Leader of France’s five to six million Muslim communities took an active part in the negotiations with Iraq’s Sunni leaders to secure the freedom of the journalists alongside many Arab political and religious leaders.
While condemning the hostage taking, they also reiterated that the law had nothing discriminatory against the Muslims.
Contrary to most Arab countries that offered their help to France and called on the Islamic Army of Iraq to free the journalists unharmed, Iran did nothing except condemning the group that is believed to have also abducted one Iranian diplomat whom it say belongs to the Revolutionary Guard’s intelligence.
Demonstrators were dispersed by the Police after they went the nearby Italian embassy, according to press reports. ENDS ANTI FRANCH DEMOS 5904