Iranian women post dance videos in support of arrested Instagram star

TEHRAN – Iranian Instagram celebrity and dancer Maedeh Hojabri would have been just another teenager in most parts of the world: operating multiple social media accounts and uploading videos of herself dancing.
 
However Hojabri’s videos are now suddenly at the centre of the latest conflict between religious hard-liners and Iranian liberals seeking more liberties.
 
The countries officials arrested the 18 year old Hojabri after she shared videos of herself dancing to Western and Iranian music at home with her tens of thousands of followers. 

There has been a battle over social codes is not new to Iran. This conflict between hardliners and the liberals wanting more freedom has played for decades in different ways.
One of the current examples is Iranian musicians using Western music as one of their influences or Iranian women challenging authorities by pushing back their headscarves to almost gravity-defying styles.
 
The internet age and social media age has added a new dimension of dissent.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has criticized websites as something similar to Trojan Horse of Western culture and values.
 
Local media has reported that authorities are looking to ban more Instagram accounts or shutting down access to the site completely.
 
In response to the arrest, some women in Iran took to social media to post videos of themselves dancing, in support of Hojabri, using the Iranian version of the hashtag #dancing_isn’t_a_crime. (Women in Iran are prohibited from dancing in front of men, except if those male observers are close family members.)
 
“I’m dancing so that they (the authorities) see and know that they cannot take away our happiness and hope by arresting teenagers and (girls like) Maedeh,” the BBC translated the tweet of one supporter.
 
Hojabri  was quoted by the Guradian newspaper, a click broadcast in Iranian state TV, “I had some followers and these videos were for them. I did not have any intention to encourage others doing the same. . . . I didn’t work with a team, I received no training. I only do gymnastics.”
Photo Credit- Onlinemaza

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