Explained: What Is Iran's 'Morality Police' And Why It Is Controversial

The function of the group is not only the enforcement of the hijab, but it also looks after the rules on an individual's public appearance and conduct

Explained: What Is Iran's 'Morality Police' And Why It Is Controversial

Iran's public prosecutor announced on Sunday that the morality police, in whose custody 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in September, has been abolished. According to the news agency AFP, Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Monrazeri said the morality police "was abolished by the same authorities who installed it."

No confirmation regarding the announcement has yet been announced by the Interior Ministry, and the state media also said that a public prosecutor is not responsible for the force. Following the development, protestors on Sunday called for a three-day strike this week to put pressure on the authorities.

What is Morality Police?

Iran's morality police, which is also known as Gasht-e-Ershad, focuses on the enforcement of laws tied to regulating Islamic dress. It is regulated by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but the elected government also has authority over their activities through their Interior Ministry. The group includes both male and female officials.

History and Functions

The function of the group is not only the enforcement of the hijab, but it also looks after the rules on an individual's public appearance and conduct. According to the Iranian authorities, the interpretation of Sharia is also the responsibility of the morality police.

The morality police were tasked with enforcing Islamic guidance, which issued a template and a suitable haircut for men in order to prevent western influence in 2010.

According to TIME, experts said that dress often remains the focus as it can be the most obvious issue to police. However, they can also arrest and detain people for consuming alcohol, or attending gatherings of males and females who are not related to each other.

Amid the domination of morality police in the lives of people, many Iranian women did not break the law but frequently pushed boundaries in their daily lives that appeared to be resistance against the law. They may wear hijab loosely or do things that might be against the rules of the morality police.

Countries with Morality Police

Iran is not the only country in the world to have employed morality police. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Malaysia are among the countries that have morality police in different forms. 

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