In the current geo-political and economic context, Iran has been constantly presented as the enemy of the Western civilization. However, unlike other modern controversial countries, Iran has been frowned upon mostly due to strange policies they adopted in order to conserve the nation’s religious dogma. Let’s explore some of the common things currently banned in Iran today:
1. Western music
In spite of the fact that classic hits from world renowned artists were highly appreciated by young Iranians, president Ahmadinejad decreed that Western music should be banned from the country’s radio and TV stations. Ahmadinejad, who is also the leader of Iran’s Supreme Cultural Revolutionary Council stated that songs from George Michael, Eric Clapton, The Eagles and Kenny G are in fact indecent and corrupt his people. On the other hand, the president doesn’t seem to mind Justin Bieber who paused his recent concert in Turkey twice to honor the Muslim call to prayer.
2. Harry Potter
Because it conflicts with Islam’s teachings, the Harry Potter series have been banned in Iran and other Arabic countries. Simply put, Islam views magic as harmful and we all know what Harry Potter is all about. In addition, religious authorities in Iran also suggest that the series has been written under the direct influence of diabolic forces that are trying to determine believers to pass to the dark side. On a side note, before you judge Iran too harshly, it is necessary to mention that Harry Potter is among the most banned book series in the past 10 years.
3. Google’s Gmail
It is necessary to mention that Iran’s ban on Google’s Gmail and other VPNs is not of religious nature, but rather stems from the country’s conflict with Israel. President Ahmadinejad claims that he is well aware of the fact that Google’s CEOs are pro-Israeli and that they are willing to provide the authorities in Jerusalem with sensitive information if that would be required. Because Yahoo mail is also banned in some parts of the country, make sure you don’t need to check your email next time you visit Iran.
Even though homosexuality is a sensitive and controversial topic in most parts of the world, no country takes this “threat” more serious than Iran. To be more precise, Ahmadinejad and Iranian religious leaders declare that homosexuality represents a crime against humanity and the human spirit. Consequentially, any man engaging in same-sex activity will be instantly executed, whereas women are sentenced to 100 lashes for the first three instances and afterwards death. On a side note, even though the death penalty is also applied in cases of adultery, the media suggests that Iran has considerably intensified its “war on homosexuality” over the past 6 years.
5. The Da Vinci Code
Without a doubt, Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code has been the most popular book at the beginning of the millennia. However, the book didn’t only enjoy a worldwide popularity, but was also regularly contested by Christianity and Islam alike. While the Christians have a hard time believing that the connection between the Priory of Sion and Opus Day is real, Islam banned it because it depicts the history of God. Furthermore, Iran also banned the Da Vinci Code movie because it presents false information regarding Christianity.
6. Skinny Jeans
Similar to almost all countries in the Middle East, Iran forbids residents to wear tight trousers as well as other clothing that the Western World includes in the “emo” fashion style. First off, it is necessary to mention that this category of clothing is considered a sign of homosexuality, a crime punishable by death in Iran. Secondly, religious leaders claim the skinny jeans are overtly sexual, denote arrogance and hence, are conflicting with the local traditions. Consequentially, any man or woman caught wearing skinny jeans can be arrested, imprisoned, beaten, raped or even murdered by local authorities.
7. Rap music
While the Iranian authorities admit they are not against the genre itself – and yes, they do have several rappers there – they also state that the lyrics and message conveyed by Western rap conflicts with their local tradition. Essentially, most rap and hip-hop tunes nowadays suggest that religion and authority should be abolished in order to enjoy full freedom. The Western rappers who promote this type of democracy are also suggesting that life is all about sex, drugs, alcohol, weapons and violence. In the light of these facts, we believe that Ahmadinejad and Iranian religious leaders are simply trying to protect the youth.
8. Cats and dogs as pets
According to some historians who have studied Iran and Islam history, even prophet Muhammad loved cats. This is why the ban on having a cat as pet is considered strange and unfounded. As far as dogs are concerned, they are Haram animals in the Islamic tradition. In the event that a Muslim is to get dog saliva on any part of his body, then he must wash that area 7 times with clean water and once more using wet sand. Even though you can’t have one as pet or eat its meat, Muslims are allowed to keep a dog for hunting purposes.
9. Mannequins, statues and dolls
Mannequins and dolls in Islam countries are viewed as representations of the human body in toy version and considered idolatry in the Arab countries. While Barbie, the most popular doll in the world fits the description, it is important to note that this toy is also banned because it could influence young Iranian girls to want to be more American. Statues are also forbidden in Iran as a means to protect the faith, especially since Islam teaches that God cannot be represented in this manner. In fact, there are several historical evidences suggesting that following in the footsteps of Abraham, statues were not accepted in the past even as forms of art and were immediately destroyed with a hammer.
10. The mullet
The ban of mullets has been issued by the Iranian government in July 2010 on grounds that the country needs to keep the tremendous influence of the Western civilization under control. Furthermore, the authorities have already started to promote Islamic hairstyles, which can be checked out at the annual Hijab and Chastity Festival.