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Girls & Women

Despite Fatwa on Biking, Iranian Women Are Not Giving Up

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa this month banning women in the country from riding bicycles.

But Iranian women are still cycling.

“It’s our absolute right and we’re not going to give up,” said one female cyclist who posted a video to the My Stealthy Freedom Facebook page, which has become a homepage for Iranian women’s rights activism online.

My Stealthy Freedom was launched as a way for women to show images of themselves not wearing the hijab.

Read More: These Iranian Men Are Wearing Hijabs to Fight for Gender Equality

The woman and her daughter said they immediately went out and rented bicycles when they heard about the fatwa to send a message that, in their words, “We’re not giving up cycling.”

In addition to the videos and images posted to the My Stealthy Freedom page, social media users have been posting to Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #IranianWomenLoveCycling.

One 25-year-old videotaped herself bicycling through the streets of Iran, wearing a bandana over her face while she discussed her objections to the fatwa.

“Was it really necessary to declare this decree and announce biking of women is a taboo?” she said. “The Iranian people have got used to the idea of seeing women biking with open minds and acceptance. Why [is it that] living a healthy life should be considered...a taboo?”

Read More: These Are the Worst Countries to Be a Woman

عكس و مطلب ارسالي: مادرم وقتی هنوز مادرم نبود،یک دانه بود.از تعصب بی جاو تحجر زمانه اش تغذیه کرد و جوانه زد.مادرم نهال شد.تنه ی نازک و بی دفاعش را به سنت های پوسیده تکیه داد و درختی تنومند شد،در بهاری شکوفه داد اما بخاطر من آنهارا به زمین سپرد،و میوه هایی داد که با میوه ی هر درخت دیگری فرق داشتند. من یکی از آن میوه ها هستم که قبل از اینکه پابه حیات گذارم در سرنوشتم نوشته شد:او یک فمینیست است.  از اسم فمنيست هم نترسيد فمنيست همانطور كه ترانه علي دوستي گفت تلاش زن و مرد براي داشتن حقوق برابر و احترام گذاشتن به يكديگر است. من هم عاشق دوچرخه سواري ام تك تك دوستانم هم  گفتند عكس را بفرستيم و بنويسيم ما عاشق كشورمان هستيم و مي خواهيم در كشور خودمان حرمت مان حفظ شود #من_عاشق_دوچرخه_ام #IranianWomenLoveCycling #IranianWomenOnTheBike

A photo posted by Masih Alinejad (@masih.alinejad) on

🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹 دنيا كه شروع شد زنجير نداشت، خدا دنيای بی زنجير آفريد. آدم بود كه زنجير را ساخت، شيطان كمكش كرد. خدا دنيای بی زنجير می‌خواست، نام دنيای بی زنجير اما بهشت است. امتحان آدم همين جا بود... شيطان آدم را در زنجير می‌خواست. ليلی، مجنون را بی زنجير می‌خواست. ليلی كمك كرد تا مجنون زنجيرش را پاره كند... ليلی ماند، زيرا ليلی نام ديگر آزادی است ... ليلی نام تمام دختران زمين است دوچرخه سواری زنان حرام اعلام شد #ایران #من_عاشق_دوچرخه_ام #حرام #IranianWomenOnTheBike #IranianWomenLoveCycling

A photo posted by زیست در نامحدود (@zist.dar.namahdod) on

“I hope me and all other women who love biking can do sports and live a healthy life in our own homeland with the help and support of the government authorities,” she said.

According to The Independent, the new ban was instituted because bicycling "contravenes women's chastity” because it attracts too much male attention toward women.

The Women's Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran called the ban “ridiculous.”

The bicycling law is the latest restriction on women’s rights in Iran as the government has increasingly cracked down on what women wear in public and where they are allowed to go.

Earlier this month Khamenei said that women’s "role and mission" was "motherhood and housekeeping.”