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Iranian journalist calls out NYT propaganda, says morality police has not been abolished

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New Delhi, Dec 06: Iranian journalist and activist, Masih Alinejad called out The New York Times (NYT) for spreading fake news about the Iranian government disbanding the country's morality police. This comes after several media outlets including the NYT reporting that Iran had abolished the morality police that enforces the hijab law in the country. The country has witnessed large-scale protests following the death of Mhasa Amin.

Alinejad claimed that media outlets such as the NYT were assisting the Iranian fascist government in spreading propaganda. "The false news spread by @nytimes claiming victory for the so-called abolition of the morality police hurts the ongoing revolution. I told @ABCNewsLive that when dictatorships like the Iranian regime are in trouble, they spread propaganda and obfuscation," the journalist tweeted.

Iranian journalist and activist, Masih Alinejad

While sharing a snippet of her interview with ABC News, she said that they were shocked when they saw the title of the NYT claiming that this was a victory. What kind of victory? It was a total lie and disinformation. It was a propaganda move by the Islamic Republic. When dictators are shaken, they know how to use disinformation to mislead the rest of the world or to calm down the protesters within the society," she said.

While criticising the Iranian government and the media outlets that support it, she said that on the same day when news organisations like NYT reported that the morality police had been disbanded, the Iranian government, in fact shut down an amusement park in Tehran because Iranian women present were not wearing a veil.

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Masih said that the protests in Iran where people are faced with guns and jail are not just about the morality police, but the people want to topple the Islamic regime. On December 4 2022, NYT while quoting senior officials in Iran said that Iran had abolished the morality police. "The decision, reported by state news outlets, appeared to be a significant victory for feminists who have sought for years to dismantle the morality police. Abolishing the force would have a major impact on Iran's ability to police what women wear," NYT said in a tweet.

What really happened:

Later on some media outlets reported that the official whom NYT cited as himself rejected the claims. "No official authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran has confirmed the closure of the morality police", the media report claimed.

A clarification was issued that the statement was misconstrued by the media houses and the morality police was not established by the Islamic regime's judiciary in the first place but was a special arm of the police and hence it was up to the police to intensify or reduce the outreach.

Protests erupted on September 16 following the death of Amini, a 22 year old Iranian of Kurdish decent. She was detained by the morality police for allegedly violating the sharia law.

The incident is said to have taken place on September 13 when Amini had travelled to Tehran for a pleasure trip. She was with her brother at the entrance of the Shahid Haghani Expressway when the morality police arrived and arrested her for an hour of education class. Following her death protests erupted across the Islamic nation against the sharia laws and the compulsory wearing of hijab for women. Women across the world supported the movement by chopping their hair and burning their headscarves.

Iran abolishes morality police amid huge anti-hijab unrestIran abolishes morality police amid huge anti-hijab unrest

The morality police:

The Gasht-e Ershad or "Guidance Patrol which is the formal name for the morality police was established in 2005 under president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to spread the culture of modesty and hijab. The squad comprises both men and women who patrol the streets to monitor the attire that the women wear. They arrest women they think are not dressed appropriately as per the Islamic dress rules.

The women who are found violating the codes are slapped on the face, beaten with batons and pushed into police vans. They are taken to a correctional facility where they are given a talk on how they should be dressing and later released while their details are recorded. If applicable these women are expected to destroy their inappropriate clothes.

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