Iranians outraged over arrest of teenage girl for Instagram dancing clips

In this combo image, a man dances in Tehran in protest against the arrest of Iranian teenager Maedeh Hojabri. The second photo shows Solmaz Eikder, a female activist and Iranian refugee, dancing on a street in Istanbul, Turkey. (Supplied photos via Reuters)
Updated 10 July 2018

Iranians outraged over arrest of teenage girl for Instagram dancing clips

  • Critics of the arrest of gymnast Maedeh Hojabri, 18, used the hashtag #Dancingisnotacrime and Iranian women posted videos of themselves dancing in public.
  • Under Iran’s Islamic Sharia law, women are required to wear headscarves and modest clothing in public and are banned from dancing in public.

ANKARA, Turkey: Iranians on social media mocked clerical rulers on Monday after the hard-line judiciary arrested a teenage girl for posting on Instagram videos of herself dancing in her room.
Critics of the arrest of gymnast Maedeh Hojabri, 18, used the hashtag #Dancingisnotacrime and Iranian women posted videos of themselves dancing in public.
“You will be laughed at if you tell people anywhere in the world that 17 and 18-year-old girls are arrested for their dance, happiness and beauty on charges of spreading indecency, while child rapists and others are free,” wrote Iranian blogger and political dissident Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki.
Iranian state TV aired a video in which she apologized for “breaking moral norms” but said any breach was not her intention. Some Iranian news websites reported three other people had been arrested on similar charges in the past weeks. The reports said they were released on bail.
“I had no bad intentions ... I did not want to encourage others to do the same ... I did not work with a network,” a crying Hojabri told TV on Friday.
Before her account was blocked by Iranian authorities, Hojabri had posted around 300 videos on her Instagram account – in which she appeared without wearing the compulsory Islamic headscarf.
Under Iran’s Islamic Sharia law, women are required to wear headscarves and modest clothing in public and are banned from dancing in public.
The potential charges against Hojabri were not specified, but she is likely to be accused of running afoul of Islamic codes of behavior that call for modesty in attire and behavior.
“Art is the language of the soul, highest of the hopes, not a crime, said Twitter user @samzglam. Sharing her own dancing clip, @Marun_1 said :“usually I don’t share pictures and videos but today is an important day.”

Access to many social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the Telegram messaging app are blocked in Iran. Iranian officials said last week the judiciary was considering blocking access to Instagram.
But many Iranians evade the filtering through the use of VPN software, which provides encrypted links directly to private networks abroad, and can allow a computer to behave as if it is based in another country.
In April, the judiciary arrested a senior Iranian official after a video posted online that showed young boys and girls dancing in public in the northeastern holy Shiite city of Mashhad for undermining public decency.”
In 2014, a group of Pharrell Williams fans arrested for sharing videos of themselves dancing to the song Happy on the rooftops of Tehran and got suspended sentences of imprisonment and lashes.


Lebanese patriarch warns of crisis without a government after Adib steps down

Updated 50 min 32 sec ago

Lebanese patriarch warns of crisis without a government after Adib steps down

  • Al-Rai said Adib’s resignation had ‘disappointed citizens, especially the youth’
  • Frustration at Adib’s failure to form government was voiced by Lebanon’s religious communities

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s top Christian cleric said on Sunday the nation faced “multiple dangers” that would be hard to weather without a government, speaking a day after the prime minister-designate quit following his failed bid to form a cabinet.
Mustapha Adib stepped down on Saturday after hitting a roadblock over how to make appointments in the sectarian system, striking a blow to a French initiative that aimed to haul the nation out of its deepest crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who had pressed Lebanon’s fractious politicians to reach a consensus so that Adib was named on Aug. 31, is to due to speak about the crisis in a news conference in Paris later on Sunday.
Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, leader of the Maronite church, Lebanon’s biggest Christian community, said Adib’s resignation had “disappointed citizens, especially the youth, who were betting on the start of change in the political class.”
Many top politicians, both Christian and Muslim, have held sway for years or even decades. Some are former warlords.
Rai said Lebanon now had to navigate “multiple dangers” without a government at the helm.
Rai’s comments were echoed on the streets of Beirut, where mass protests erupted in 2019 as years of mismanagement, corruption and mounting debts finally led to economic collapse, paralysing banks and sending the currency into freefall.
“There needs to be fundamental change. We need new people. We need new blood,” said 24-year-old Hassan Amer, serving coffee from a roadside cafe in the capital, which was hammered by a huge port blast on Aug. 4 that killed almost 200 people.
In nearby streets, walls were still plastered with graffiti from the protests, including the popular call for sweeping out the old guard: “All of them means all of them.”
Frustration at the failure of Adib, a Sunni Muslim, to form a government was voiced by many across Lebanon’s religious communities. Prime ministers under Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system must be Sunnis.
A senior Shiite Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Qabalan, said on Saturday Adib’s resignation as the economy collapsed could “be described as a disaster,” calling for national unity to deliver reforms, the state news agency reported.
The cabinet formation effort stumbled after Lebanon’s two main Shiite groups, Amal and the heavily armed Iran-backed Hezbollah, demanded they name several ministers, including finance, a key role as the nation draws up a rescue plan.
Saad Al-Hariri, a former prime minister and leading Sunni politician, said in a statement he would not be involved in naming any new premier and said the French plan was “the last and only opportunity to halt Lebanon’s collapse.”
A French roadmap laid out a reform program for a new government to help trigger billions of dollars of international aid.