Universities

Iranian morality officer calls for gender segregation in universities

A senior Islamic morality official in Iran has defended gender segregation in higher education, saying families would welcome its introduction.

In a video interview earlier this weekMohammad-Saleh Hashemi-Golpaygani, head of a government organization called Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil Headquarters, claimed that gender segregation in institutions of higher education will help advance science and knowledge.

“I don’t have an answer when people ask me why students are separated before reaching adulthood but mixed when they go to college,” he said.

Boys and girls are strictly separated in primary school, but most universities are coeducational.

“Families will welcome gender segregation [in higher education]. They want a safe environment [for their children]he said with a bang, saying that there are twenty-one universities and colleges around the world that are segregating, including some in the United States. He also claimed that the average grade increased by 1.5 in these universities after separating men and women.

Hashemi-Golpaygani’s remarks outraged many on social media, and websites and newspapers criticized him for his controversial remarks.

In an editorial on Tuesday, the moderate conservative Asriran told Hashem-Golpaygani that with its “reckless and incorrect statements” – including the undocumented claim that many of the best universities in the world have implemented gender segregation and achieved better academic results as well as the existence of software for facial recognition that can help identify women with insufficient hijab – it shatters the Islamic concept of “enjoining good and forbidding evil” and provides sensational stories to Persian-language media based abroad.

University students in Tehran protest harassment by campus morality police. April 24, 2022

Some social media users pointed out that Hashemi-Golpaygani’s own daughter studied at a coeducational university in Belgium.

In the same interview, Hashem-Golpaygani said that public CCTV cameras, including those at subway stations, are programmed to use facial recognition technology to take photos of undisclosed women and to compare photos of a woman. national database to identify those who violate the rules of hijab. . He suggested that offenders should be fined the same way people are fined for breaking traffic laws.

Hashem-Golpaygani said recently that about half of Iranian women do not respect the compulsory rules of hijab.

In his op-ed, “Watch less sci-fi movies,” Asriran also told the official that he should apply to the National Organization of Iranian Cinema if he is interested in the sci-fi genre. His suggestion that fines violators of hijab rules using blurry CCTV footage will help convert them to hijab “would only be possible in science fiction or comic book movies,” Asriran wrote.

The website also suggested that such technology, if available in the country, would be better used to find dangerous criminals. Police have numerous burglaries, auto thefts and assault cases with footage of the culprits they cannot identify.

In recent months, the government and security agencies have stepped up efforts to pressure women to abide by hijab laws and several rounds of civil disobedience campaigns against the hijab followed.

The patrols of the “morality police” have multiplied in the streets and videos of violent arrests of women and girls as well as clashes between people and hijab enforcers, including a recent incident in Shiraz that led to the closure of the mall where it happened, are becoming all too common on social media.