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Iranian Islamic Women are Second Class Citizens Because of the Quran

Updated on March 15, 2012
Shirin Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi
Her Nobel prize winning book
Her Nobel prize winning book

Women's Rights in Iran

Most knowledgeable people probably already know this outside and within Islamic Iran and their Quran. Those that do not believe it simply refuse to because how women are treated in Iran and other Islamic countries is more based on tradition and dogma.

Who else would know by Shirin Ebadi, one of Iran's leading attorney's, a former judge, and winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for human rights.

It was in 1979, during the Iranian revolution that tossed out the USA and the Shah of Iran, that Iranian women lost many of their rights they had under the former Shah of Iran. Many women who were around then state while it was an Islamic Revolution, it was also a revolution of men against women. When Shirin began to read what the men had done in rewriting the Islamic Penal Code for criminals, she was shocked for it favored men over women many times taking Iranian women back to second class citizens. Shirin was personally impacted for she was a judge around 1979 presiding over many trials. Suddenly, in hours, men in charge, had removed her as a judge citing that women are not capable of such a position and had no choice but to be a secretary for a man. The man who replaced on the bench was not even qualified nor an attorney.

Ironically, today, 65% of the students in college there are women. There are many women who are professors or in social positions of the government. Despite this, Iranian law clearly favors the man in most proceedings and considers women just second class citizens of lesser importance. A perfect example is that Iranian court, it takes the testimony of two women to equal one man's regarding veracity. A man can have up to four wives and divorce at will, yet a woman, who seeks a divorce has a hard road to travel to get it. Worse, married women need their husband's permission to travel in writing! A woman convicted of adultery can be stoned to death, as Sakineh Ashtiani recently was.

Many laws, like those mentioned, are not Islamic nor based on the Quran. They are simply based on men's biases. Women in Iran face discriminatory laws and Islamic traditions, both make women second class citizens.The Iranian government continues to refuse to sign an international law agreement that discriminated against women.

Shirin, now lives outside of Iran, yet her husband is in jail and is frequently beaten for public testimony to speak out against his wife. So far, this has not happened. Her family members in Iran also face harassment from local police. Just recently, another highly skilled woman attorney, Soltani, and friend, was arrested and in a rapid trial sentenced to 18 years in prison. Shirin, herself, could not practice law until 1993 because of the demotion to "law clerk" in 1979. She is the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace prize. Iranian authorities froze her bank account and demanded $410,000 in taxes that they claimed for the $1.3 million she was awarded. Such prizes are exempt from tax under Iranian law. She said the government also confiscated her home.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      There are few issues that really anger me more than women rights in Islamic\Muslim countries for the injustice based on religious customs and dogma. I have other hubs on this issue also. Iranian women are some of the most beautiful and intelligent, yet the regime crushes them.

    • Blawger profile image

      Bahin Ameri 6 years ago from California

      Another great hub perrya! The treatment of women is the one reason why I have yet to visit Iran even though both my parents are from there. My parents fled Iran during the revolution and rarely visit. I am so thankful to have been born in the US. I know that if I ever did visit I would probably end up in jail for inadvertently breaking their idiotic laws. Thank you for shedding light on this important issue.

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Great hub perrya!

      Excellent point kathleen.

      I was discussing philosophy with a group of people the other day. I brought up David Hume's concept of the "Normative" vs "Positive." Much of the world's laws and customs are base and on "normative" (e.g, customs, religions and personal opinions) and oftentimes have little "positive" (science) backing.

      Interesting hub - voted such


    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      I agree, totally.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Many laws, like those mentioned, are not Islamic nor based on the Quran. They are simply based on men's biases.

      It's really not that different here in the US. Baptists used to take communion with wine. Then came Prohibition and the practice changed. Suddenly the Bible said it was wrong to drink wine.

      That may seem like apples and oranges, but the point is a lot of religions try to justify their taboos by using scripture when it is often just a product of their cultures, their bias.