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article imageIranian govt. designs 'Islamic and beautiful' clothes for women

By JohnThomas Didymus     Dec 28, 2011 in World
Tehran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has intervened to settle the dispute between Iranian women and Islamic hardliners over dress-code for women. He is promoting government-approved clothes for women that he describes as "Islamic and beautiful."
Iranian law only states that a woman must cover her hair and body in public, but gives no detailed regulations on how they should do it. In Iran, the traditional Islamic burqa which covers a woman's body from head to toe is called a chador, and Shiite Muslim clerics have been campaigning to have it enforced on Iranian women.
But the younger generation of Iranian women are resisting, with fashion designers coming up with new designs which find creative ways of avoiding the chador without technically violating the regulation that a woman's body should be covered in public.
Young Iranian women exposed to fashion trends outside their country prefer tight fitting coat designs, make up and stylish hairdos with small brightly colored scarves. But women are under the constant watch of Iran's morality police who harass and sometimes arrest them on charges of indecent dressing. The Washington Post reported that 70 fashion designers were arrested in November and more than 400 shops selling "indecent dresses" for women were closed down.
To counter efforts of hardline clerics to enforce stricter dress codes on women, Ahmadinejad, who is said to be "western-leaning" in his tastes, sponsored a fashion show displaying 110 designs entered in a competition for the best Islamic dress. A team of judges, mostly men, inspected the dresses and ranked than according to their "Islamic-ness."
Iranian women have expressed their approval of many of the government-approved designs showcased by plastic mannequins. The Washington Post reports that Shoukoufeh Arabpour, 23, spoke glowingly of a velvet blue "manteau" design called "peacock." Arabpour, who was dressed in a black chador, said: “I wear that because my family wants me to. Unfortunately, compared to other nations, we face restrictions in the choice of our clothes.”
Ahmadinejad's government evidently favors a moderate stance on women's dress-codes which avoids extremes of western laxity in dress-code (that Islamic hardliners have correctly criticized as promoting the commercialization of womens' bodies) and conservative Islamic dress-codes that also have been correctly criticized as oppressively restrictive.
News Track India reports that Iran's hardline clerics have objected to the government's fashion designs saying they promote "western values."
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