Opinion: Amidst protests in Iran, ASU needs to officially condemn the regime

Opinion: Amidst protests in Iran, ASU needs to officially condemn the regime

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Following the murder of Mahsa (Jina) Amini at the hands of the Iranian morality police, Iranians are risking their lives to protest Iran’s oppressive regime. As the Iranian government’s violent crackdown on this civil disobedience intensifies, it’s more important than ever for ASU to be on the right side of history and condemn the Iranian regime.

Protesting for women’s rights is nothing new for Iran, but the scale and unity of the current unrest are unprecedented. Iranians from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds are unified under one cause to fight against the Iranian regime, with previously dormant universities erupting in protests by staging walkouts and going on strike.

This spirit of revolution has even spread to thousands of high school girls in Iran. Videos of schoolgirls throwing off compulsory hijabs and shutting down pro-regime administrators have rapidly spread online, among many others that showcase how girls and women are at the forefront of the movement.

Souad T. Ali, founding chair of the ASU Council for Arabic and Islamic Studies, believes that the killing of Mahsa (Jina) Amini made Iranian women realize the extent of their oppression.

“For a young girl to die in custody just because she wasn’t wearing her veil correctly is very significant,” Ali said. “What Iran is doing to women is completely wrong and has nothing to do with Islam, and now (the women of Iran) are more aware of this.”

Ali also pointed to the regime’s distortion of the Quran as another reason for the unrest.

“Imposing the hijab and/or veil on women contradicts the Quranic Verse ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion,'” Ali said. “While Islam requires a modest dress for both men and women willingly, it is sad to see some countries such as Iran, and some radicals and extremist Muslims, try to enforce their distorted patriarchal interpretation of the Quran on women.”

Ali hopes the University will make an intentional effort to support its Iranian community.

“All Muslim students and faculty at ASU are impacted by these violent events,” Ali said. “ASU should issue a strong response in support of (the people of) Iran.”

Rasoul Foroughfard, a member of the Iranian Student Association, agrees that condemning the regime would help students feel supported by the University.

“Other universities have officially condemned what the regime is doing,” Foroughfard said. “If they see that the University cares by condemning what’s happening in Iran, they will feel like ASU cares about their concerns.”

At the time of publication, ASU has made no public statement regarding Iranian students and their safety on and off campus. ASU President Michael Crow in March released a statement in early March supporting students affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

When asked about Iranian student support in a meeting with The State Press earlier this month, Crow said the University is “all ears” for student demands, but has no plans to make a public statement.

“We respond to things where there’s something we can do. We don’t comment on everything going on all over the world. We don’t do that. But we do pick up on our tools if there’s something we can do,” Crow said.

ASU is a University that centers inclusivity and diversity in its charter, meant to be a home away from home for its students. That means making intentional efforts to make them feel supported, especially in times of crisis that affect certain students disproportionately.

Apathy from the University is unacceptable in the face of a crisis as major as the one in Iran. ASU should release a statement condemning the regime, and commit to creating an environment that fully supports its Iranian student body.

Edited by Sadie Buggle, Jasmine Kabiri, David Rodish, Sophia Balasubramanian and Kristen Apolline Castillo.


Reach the columnist at mosmonbe@asu.edu.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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