My latest blog is adapted from my book, "Broken yet beautiful: Rising up from their ashes."
Women living in Iran struggle for basic human rights under a dictatorship government. They are
forced to wear the hijab when going out publicly and can be fined or arrested if caught by the morality police. In this new blog, I explain the how extreme the Hijab Law is to the extent that even mannequins are required to be veiled.
One of the traditions of my Iranian friends as they prepare for the celebration of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, is shopping for new clothes. Spring is just around the corner and its time for new beginnings and one of those, “new beginnings” is expanding one’s wardrobe!
My dear friend Atefe, who lives in Tehran, excitedly left her home one day to go shopping at a local clothing store. While browsing around in the clothing store, she noticed Iranian security officers confronting the storeowner. Later on, she discovered that the security officers had found the storeowner was in violation of The Islamic dress code. She had failed to put hijabs on all of the mannequins and had to do so immediately or be arrested!
It is Islamic Law for all women to wear a veil when they go out publicly. If they fail to comply they can be fined, arrested, or lashed.
But wait a minute! Help me out please!
Is there not a distinction between human beings and mannequins? What is a mannequin?
A mannequin is a lifeless form of plastic representing a human being that is used to display the latest fashions in store windows.
Oh, I get it now!
The Islamic Regime would prefer that all Iranians behave just like mannequins. Mannequins don’t speak or talk back or protest or whine or complain. These lifeless plastic forms wear whatever you put on them without a complaint and stand in the window all day!
It seems that image is everything according to Iranian Law. Iranians are supposed to obey without complaint and wear whatever they are told just like mannequins in the store window.
The sad reality to this, “image is everything,” scenario is that it reduces real human beings to lifeless forms without hearts and souls. Human beings cannot exist under these conditions. They quickly lose all self-worth and self-esteem and that’s exactly what false religion does. It robs people of all meaning and purpose in life and reduces them to little more than “puppets” on a string.
God didn’t create us as lifeless forms or puppets on a string. He created us with great value and gave us a heart to discover the beauty of life that surrounds us. He breathed into our souls, love, purpose, and creativity to shine like the brilliant colors of the rainbow and to make a difference in a world of suffering and pain. Our lives won’t shine very brightly is we are reduced to the morbid and depressing existence of mannequins in a store window, but…
“Image is everything, right?”
God offers true hope and healing for both Iranian and Saudi women. The Bible teaches that he hears the cry of the oppressed and rescues them. I have spent the last seven years of my life writing the stories of my dear Iranian friends and being their voice. One day soon, I believe they will be able to walk down the streets of Tehran without fear of being arrested. I also believe that God is going to bring justice and freedom to the women of Saudi Arabia. I can say this with confidence because the Bible teaches that God is a God of justice! One precious psalm is my encouragement that God will keep his promise and free the women of the Middle East and restore their dignity to them. I want to conclude this section by sharing this powerful little psalm that I pray for my Iranian friends every day:
“He will rescue the poor when they cry to him. He will help the oppressed who have no one to defend them.
He feels pity for the weak and the needy and he will rescue them.
He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him.”
What a powerful promise from God’s Holy Word! God understands their pain because he became a human being in Jesus and suffered excruciating pain in order to save us from our sins. Jesus was spit upon, mocked, insulted, and betrayed. He understands evil and betrayal,