“Turban Tossing” in Iran: Reflections on an Act of Anticlerical Revenge

On 16th September 2022, the “morality police” (pers. Gasht-e Ershād, lit. “Guidance Patrol”) run by the Islamist government of Iran detained 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish Zhinā Mahsā Amini for “improperly” wearing the Islamic headscarf (pers. hejāb) in public. Amini subsequently died in custody, reportedly at the hands of morality police officers. In the weeks that followed, a protest movement swept Iran, adopting the Kurdish feminist slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom” (pers. zan, zendegi, āzādi”, kurm. “jin, jiyan, azadî”) as its central motto. These protests have since evolved into a revolutionary movement seeking to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran. Following the brutal encounter of Iranian governmental forces with demonstrators, an estimated 378 people were killed as of 20 November 2022.1

A variety of anticlerical chants feature prominently among the protestors’ slogans, both inside and outside Iran. Mottos like “Bullets, Tanks, and Rockets – the Mullahs can bugger off!” (pers. “Tup, Tānk, Feshfesheh – Ākhund bāyad gom besheh!“) and “This is the Year of Blood – Seyyed ʿAli will be overthrown” (pers. “Emsāl Sāl-e Khuneh – Seyyed ʿAli Sarneguneh!”) are expressive of the protesting masses’ turn against the political-clerical establishment and its head, the dictatorial Supreme Leader Seyyed ʿAli Khāmeneʾi. Alongside the protests, a series of videos continues to trend on social media showing overwhelmingly young Iranians knocking off the turbans of random Shi’ite clerics they encounter on the streets. This practice has since been dubbed ʿAmmāmeh-Parāni, a term best translated as “Turban Tossing”.

Figure 1: A young woman is tossing the turban of a random cleric while her friend is filming the scene, https://twitter.com/mamadporii/status/1591189615649726466, last accessed 22nd November 2022.

Social media users sympathetic to the protests have gleefully shared dozens of videos displaying acts of “Turban Tossing”.  „“Turban Tossing” in Iran: Reflections on an Act of Anticlerical Revenge“ weiterlesen

  1. IranWire, 2022, At Least 378 killed In Iran Protest Crackdown, Rights Group Says, available online: https://iranwire.com/en/politics/110126-at-least-378-killed-in-iran-protest-crackdown-rights-group-says/, last accessed 22nd November 2022. []
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