(/sites/default/files/uploads/2014/05/leila-hatami-iran-cannes-bises.jpg)According to BBC World news, Fox News, and other international outlets, Iranian authorities, including Iranian Deputy Minister of Culture Hoseyn Nushabadi, are outraged over a kiss on the cheek given by President of the Cannes Film Festival Gilles Jacob to one of Iran’s most well-known movie stars, Leila Hatami, during a red carpet appearance this weekend.
Hatami starred in A Separation, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012. It was the first Iranian film to win an Oscar award. Hatami is also one of five women members of the Palme d’Or prize jury, besides director Sofia Coppola, jury president Jane Campion, and actress Carole Bouquet.
The outrage for violating Islamic laws did not just finish with Jacob’s kiss on the cheek. Hatami has been strongly criticized for extending her hand, initiating a handshake with a male to whom she is not married, and for wearing improper Islamic dress. In addition, Iranian authorities were outraged and complained that the actress’s neckline was too exposed. It is worth noting that Hatami wore her Islamic scarf.
Nushabadi pointed out angrily that Hatami’s actions and appearance in Cannes were “in violation of religious beliefs.” An Iranian state-affiliated and religious newspaper commented on Hatami’s hand extension: “[E]xtending her [Hatami’s] hand to Jacob was unconventional and improper behavior.”
Yes, when a law of the land is anchored in Islamic and Sharia law— such as that of the Islamic Republic of Iran— important and critical national issues become shaking hands with a person from the opposite sex, kissing on the cheek, exposing part of the neck, smiling, etc.
Instead of concentrating on crucial issues such as unemployment (which is over 15 percent in Iran), poverty, inflation (approximately 40 percent), raising the living standards of people, the governmental ministers and top Iranian authorities are enraged with a kiss on the cheek because it violates Islamic codes of conduct.
There were many times when I lived in Iran, when I was stopped by the Islamic moral police asking me to show proof that I was married to the person I was seen walking alongside. In Iran, even walking or being together with a person of the opposite sex in the public, while being unmarried, is a violation of Islamic law. Physical contact should be completely avoided under this Sharia law.
Another well-known Iranian actress, Golshifteh Farahani, was not allowed to return to her home country of Iran after she appeared topless in a short film in 2012 and in a French magazine.
Jacob replied to these Islamic criticisms and to the Iranian media outrage regarding this affront to the chastity Muslim women by pointing out that this is “a usual custom in the West … The controversy over a usual custom in the West has therefore no reason to be … At that moment, for me she represented all Iranian cinema, then she became herself again after.”
Later Jacob tweeted, “I kissed Mrs Hatami on the cheek.”
Hatami’s violation of Islamic laws has also gone viral, specifically on twitter, with people commentating on the irrationality of this outrage by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Instead of investing in such talents and encouraging young people to pursue their dreams and promote the public good, the Islamic laws of Iran are obsessed with trivial, uncivilized laws and codes from almost 1,400 years ago.
Many Iranian women have supported Hatami’s act to defy the Islamic codes and hijab norms. On the other hand, Iran’s Islamic moral police and the hardliners also launched a media campaign depicting women with improper hijab useage as uncovered candies that naturally attracts dirty flies.
Many women have launched social media campaigns to support the actress, while the naïve female MP and head of Iran’s cultural commission, who is a puppet for the Iranian regime and benefits from this theocracy and dictatorship, called for Hatami’s punishment. She pointed out, “These artists who have used the opportunities and facilities within the Islamic republic to find fame, should not exploit it and damage the reputation of the Islamic republic.”
The intriguing phenomenon is that Iranian leaders believe that this actress defamed Iranian Muslim women and their reputation. As Noushabadi pointed out, “Those who attend international events should take heed of the credibility and chastity of Iranians, so that a bad image of Iranian women will not be demonstrated to the world. The Iranian woman is the symbol of chastity and innocence.”
Nevertheless, do Iranian authorities not recognize that their fury and outrage over such trivial things, and their Islamic and Sharia laws, depict a much worse image of Iran? Do these defenders of Islam understand that these Islamic laws have become a cause for mockery in this modern world?
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