Iranian official arrested for allowing ‘indecent’ public dancing

Special to WorldTribune.com

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Islamic law enforced in Iran prohibits public dancing.

Iran has arrested a Culture Ministry official after people danced in public in the northeastern city of Mashhad, the judiciary said on April 19.

Islamic law enforced in Iran prohibits public dancing. / video grab

Deputy prosecutor Hassan Heydari told the judiciary’s Mizanonline news agency on April 19 that the head of the department of Islamic guidance in Mashhad was arrested for “undermining public decency and disrespecting the laws.”

A video of the April 17 event posted online showed young men and women dancing and enjoying a performance by a singer.

Hard-liners in Mashhad expressed outrage over the video and called for action against those who authorized the event.

Islamic law enforced in Iran prohibits public dancing. The mingling of unrelated men and women is also banned.

Mohsen Afshar, a spokesman for the shopping center where the event took place, told the semiofficial ISNA news agency that a monthly lottery is organized and a car given away to the lucky winner to attract customers.

The singer had the necessary “official permits to perform,” Afshar said.

However, Heydari told the hard-line Tasnim news agency that the mall was not authorized to organize such events.

Mashhad is a conservative city where influential hard-liners have disrupted and banned concerts in the past.

The Friday Prayer leader in the city, Ayatollah Ahmad Allamolhoda, has told music-lovers, “Go somewhere else.”

In a separate development, Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli requested a “comprehensive” investigation after a video emerged on social media allegedly showing a young woman being mistreated by at least one female morality police officer.

The woman was accused of not covering her hair sufficiently at a park in Tehran.

Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar said on Twitter that police behavior toward the woman was “unjustified.”

“Such harsh and irreligious behaviors are below the dignity of any human being,” she tweeted.

Women in Iran can be arrested for failing to cover their hair in public. Dozens of them have been detained in recent months for protesting against the country’s strict dress code by removing their head scarves.

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