Iran Facebook Page Wants Women Lashed for Unveiled Photographs

May 26, 2014 8:07 am ET

May 26 (Bloomberg) -- A Facebook page seeks lashes and imprisonment for Iranian women who posted photographs of themselves without headscarves on the social media website.

The anonymous page, titled “Identify Advocates of Debauchery in Cyber Space,” asks viewers to identify the women in the pictures. It is a rejoinder to “Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women,” a campaign on Facebook that invites women to send photos of themselves with uncovered hair.

Iranian conservatives see abandoning the headscarf, or hijab, as an act of defiance against Islamic republic rules. Since the 1979 revolution that brought Shiite Muslim religious leaders to power, women in Iran have been required to cover their hair and bodies in public with headscarves and loose- fitting coats.

“Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women” was started by London-based Iranian activist and journalist Masih Alinejad. It has gathered 370,000 likes since it went online on May 3, and dozens of women have posted their pictures.

Backers of the country’s Islamic code responded earlier this month with a Facebook page that condemns the women who appear on Alinejad’s site. “Iranian Women’s Real Freedom” says it seeks to confront “foreigners and traitors” who “call for the lifting of the veil.”

--With assistance from Ladane Nasseri in Dubai.