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Back to (religious) school
New school year in Iran

Spetember 30, 2006

The new academic year started last week and schools in Iran open for about 15 million school pupils. As expected, the government of Ahmadinejad has planned new measures of islamisation -- Education Ministry announced a ban on male teachers from girl schools. Furthermore, “all students have to take part in the daily ritual in communal halls”, state-run media reported.

As reflected in the decisive restriction of Islamic norms, according to state media and forceful calls of Hardliners, Tehran police Chief Brigadier General Morteza Tala’i announced the formation of a new “Youth Police” which will be present in schools across the city. This extra police are in place to mainly enforce measures of gender segregation, against non-Islamic attitudes and especially to threaten school girls who are considered to be “bad hijab”. The idea of definitive gender segregation is the main obsession of the IRI

As I described in a previous article "Non-Mahram" the sickening growth of violence against female population in Iran has drastically limited the conditions of work, education, art, sport, entertainment and general freedom of social life for women. The reason why Islam lays great emphasis on hijab is to avoid the unnecessary contacts between a Muslim female with a non-mahram, a male person out of close family circle, or being alone together "Khalwah or Khalvat".

The dogma of non-mahram is the pivotal point of Islamic hijab. It describes the men or women with whom an Islamic adult person can marry "marriageable". For a Muslim person, much stricter for women, considering this issue, there are two groups of people in the world:

- The first group's members are not marriageable or “mahrams", they are a few members of close family. The Muslim adult woman is not obliged to wear hijab in front of their eyes and the Muslim man is not obliged to lower his gaze.

- The second group called non-mahram is any other adult living man or woman on earth. A Muslim woman should wear hijab in front of all adult and male members of this group and with whom she and the Muslim man are not permitted to be in any sort of contact or being alone except in the extreme cases where chastity and low gaze are to be respected according to many "Surahs" in Koran and narrations from the Prophet of Islam.

Non-mahram dogma caused character formation in the Islamic societies: In domain of art, like paintings, frescos, music, theatre, ceremonies..., Muslims should respect the red line of non-mahram dogma around the woman's body, which is the impenetrable line separating a Muslim woman from a non-mahram's visual and acoustic field. Therefore in the Islamic societies, no female statute or bust was on display, there was no role for a female in theatre or music - from which a collective style of art was inspired and extended into the society.

“Madresseh” or early schools in the Islamic societies were initially then preferably built for male Muslim children. The schools should respect the aims of the non-mahram dogma avoiding all measures from school building to all lessons and subjects related to opposite sex. All necessary measures were taken in a high consideration to avoid any “haram” contact or possible temptation between opposite genders.

Needless to mention that based on Freudian psychoanalysis, such a sex-separation not only reduces the learning efficiency of students, but also damages the normal sequence of developmental stages of children and can lead to later different sexual perversities. In fact, sexual frustration can transform into drastic side effects, like sadism, aggression or blind obedience, as remarked in religious or authoritarian societies described by W. Reich.

Another part, a low rate of sexual crimes in rural population, comparable with cities, is an obvious example for rejecting of non-mahram dogma as a source of temptation. In fact despite being governed by the IRI, peasant and Bedouin women neither wear hijab nor are they locked away in the house.

All of those measures that lead to the sex-segregation in the Islamic world are reflected from the dogma of non-mahram. The dogma is a deep established belief system effecting and colouring many aspects of social norms. It has become a social phenomenon with stereotyped resonances reflecting stronger and more absolute than its origin, Islam itself.

The effects of sex-segregation as resonance of the non-mahram dogma have had also crucial results on the social backwardness. As a psychological effect, a group of mixed-sex persons behaves not only socially but also in performance very differently from a group of the same sex. Considering only the factor of mixture, the first group is more motivated and more efficient than the second one. The women's non active participation in economy and production of social needs is another reason for backwardness. Furthermore, the secluded Muslim woman would not be a pattern symbol for her children for modernity, progress and democracy.

In Islamic countries, Turkey aside, the majority of schools are segregated, but there is a little number of sex-mixed schools with limited secular programme. However, since the IRI exists, school is restrict segregated in Iran and does not respect choice of parents. School is ruled by the ideology of ruling class; state intervenes and ensures that school is Islamic. In other words, children have no right to have the opportunity of a free and secular school at all. State avoids any possibility of gender contact by even barring men teachers from teaching at girl’s schools.

The IRI’officials impose religion as a way they want to organise the society in a set of values, morals and beliefs. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having a good upbringing and being morally safe. But children should not to be religious to have sound morals. On the contrary, when they bring religion into school, they impose it in a particular ideology.

Today, thanks to this particular ideology, people realise that Islam cannot claim to have a monopoly on ethics, on morals. If people had free choice, there were millions of Iranians who would choose to bring up their children with values of secularism and would take religion away from them.

For These freedom-loving Iranian parents, as there are laws against physical abuse of children, they should be also laws against psychological, emotional and ideological abuse of children. Iranian children don not voluntarily go to Islamic schools. Since they are having no other choice, the international organisations, which defend children’s rights, must defend such children against ideological indoctrination and abuse of the totalitarian political Islam in Iran.

Under the IRI children, mostly from lower-class, are indoctrinated to become Basidjis, martyrs, jihadists and whatever the regime wants. Many of these school boys were victims of the Iran-Iraq war-- the regime indoctrinate them to walk across mine fields to clear the path for a “ticket to heaven and virgins”. Some 30000 Basidjis left their schools and underwent military training at mosques during the first year of the current war.

Today, the IRI pretends to see footprints of the enemies of Islam in each corner, including in schools.  More restrictions are underway, school books are going to be more archaic and Islamic, further recruitments of school boys for jihadist activities can be planned, school girls will be more under hijab-control. In a few words, all of it means fewer rights for children.  

The regime likely prefers to engage religious teachers, at best Mullahs, to promote the existing Islamic educational system into a pure Islamic faith system, in a way, the schools can become a character of madresseh or a similar form of the Koran schools controlled by local Muslim authorities in some areas of Pakistan.

According to the IRI’s constitution, since the language of the Koran and Islamic texts and teachings is Arabic, and since Persian literature is thoroughly permeated by this language, it must be taught after elementary level, in all classes of secondary school and in all areas of study. Therefore, lesson of Arabic language and reading of the Koran will gain more compulsory character despite abhor of an increasing majority of   school children.

But under the totalitarian IRI, there can be no defender of the rights of children to claim that their rights should override any religious and ideological considerations. Actually, the issue of whether children have the right to have modern and secular schools comes up against the Islamic philosophy of IRI’s constitution.

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran considers, social, political, educational and economic institutions of Iranian society based on Islamic principles and norms, which have roots in a model of an early Islamic society or Ummah. The constitution does not tolerate any change in model or concept.

Educational system is of course exemplified by the nature of such an Islamic concept of society in which gender segregation remains its main characteristic. In other words, Iranian children are deprived from very normal mixed- sex schools and all privileges of secular and free schools as long as the IRI with all its parasitic institutions exist. Comment

For letters section
To: Jahanshah Rashidian

Jahanshah Rashidian


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