22 September 2016

Women defy fatwa on riding bicycles

Iranian women have reacted with defiance to an edict by the Supreme Leader that they must give up cycling because it “contravenes chastity”.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that women cyclists were likely to stir impure thoughts in men. “Riding a bicycle often attracts the attention of men and exposes the society to corruption, and thus contravenes women’s chastity, and it must be abandoned,” he told state media.

His fatwa enraged liberals in the country, dozens of whom posted videos or pictures on social media of women on two wheels. A mother and daughter, both disguised with masks and dark glasses, filmed themselves cycling on Kish island, an Iranian holiday resort in the Gulf.

“Bicycle riding is part of our lives,” said the younger woman. “We were here when we heard about Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa banning women from bicycling. We immediately hired two bicycles to say we’re not giving up cycling. It is our right.” [The Times (£)] Read more