by Savalan

Adepeju Solarin

Elnaz Babazadeh was kidnapped, beaten, raped, and murdered earlier this month in Tabriz, an Iranian city that’s an Azerbaijani stronghold. The earliest online news reports show information for July 12. However, it is believed she had been missing about a week before as her parents found her body at a local morgue.

The ugly truth is Elnaz was treated with evil disregard and the Western media has been largely silent. Elnaz was murdered for wearing her hijab (Islamic headscarf) inappropriately. My guess is she was wearing it but it didn’t cover her whole head—something quite common, see “Tehran” image and Saghar Daeeri link below. Her murderers—young men belonging to the notorious Basij (a shady class of law enforcement)—were released shortly after being arrested. It was supposedly a “misunderstanding.” A misunderstanding is when negotiations fail because both sides see things differently. A misunderstanding is NOT beating, raping, and shooting a young woman, point blank, because she failed to wear her headscarf the proper way.

What makes this all the more painful is the lack of media dissemination in non-Iranian news outlets. Google searches (and other sites) produce little to nothing about this news report. The non-reporting gives credence to the Iranian government and its conspiracy-theory supporters about how the West turns a blind eye to human rights violations, except when it suits them of course.

It makes little sense. Last year the all media outlets, from CNN to Fox news were saturated with Neda Agha-Soltan’s story—the young woman who was gunned down at a rally. Pain is pain, thus there will be no comparisons, however, the question is: WHY? Why, after two weeks is there still no significant news story, except the LA Times Babylon and Beyond entry, which addressed the issue as a sub-point under the Sakineh stoning. True there are so many human rights violations occurring daily, and it is sometimes impossible to report all of it. Nevertheless, this one could have been reported too!

Some, like the Southern Azerbaijan National Awakening Movement (SANAM), believe the lack of interest is due to its location, Tabriz, a predominantly non-Persian region and with an offender whose father is a high-ranking Revolutionary Guard member. Little of this sort of crime seem to happen in Tehran for all its “bad hijab” styles (see above image by Saghar Daeeri). Why?

SANAM’s argument is plausible considering that ADAPP exists to voice human rights violations happening to Azerbaijanis in Iran. Granted Elnaz was no political activist—and neither was Neda—and there is no viral video of the atrocious crime, this is still a human rights violation of enormous proportions.  Why wasn’t this story explored, investigated, and disseminated? True, Iran is a sovereign country, (I feel the need to always mention this, as the subject of human rights is prickly for Iran and world leaders) but that does not tie the hands of other nations in discussing such tragic events. It is no wonder there is such back and forth when it comes to discussing human rights on the international stage. Each side calls a bluff, because leaders lack integrity.

And the kicker:  well, a few days later, news-blog sites Persian2English and theHuman Rights Activists News Agency, report that Iran’s Interior Minister, Mustafa Mohammed Najjar, orders a crackdown on “bad hijab.”

This may sound naïve, even foolish, but one must entertain the thought that Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Khamenei do not about Elnaz’s tragic end. They could not, because they too are fathers, and fathers, no matter how strict, would never condone such evil–and neither does the Quran.

Please, if you can, share this news, send it to whoever is in a position to publicize it. Elnaz should not be swept under the rug.


Thank you. //…-tabriz/



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