Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa stating that women in cartoons and animated features must be depicted wearing a hijab, according to al-Arabiya citing Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

A fatwa is a declaration or ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized higher authority. The ruling is not legally binding, however.

The report states that Khamenei was answering a question posed by a Telegram user, asking if observing compulsory hijab is necessary for characters in animated features. It was not made clear through which forum the question was presented to the ayatollah.

“Although wearing hijab in such a hypothetical situation is not required per se, observing hijab in animation is required due to the consequences of not wearing hijab,” IranWire quoted him as saying, according to the report.

Since Iran’s Islamic Revolution 40 years ago, women have been forced to cover their hair for the sake of modesty. Violators are publicly admonished, fined or arrested. They are also harassed and targeted by Iran’s “morality police,” also known as the “Gasht-e Ershad.”

There are additional instructions for women clerks in many Tehran shopping centers to wear a maghnaeh (black hood) instead of a simple hijab, or face the possible consequence of having their business shut down.

While there are no expressly written laws compelling women to wear hijab in Iran, following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, government and religious officials have set their own standards of dress for the entire public – with many restrictions of dress and etiquette being targeted at women in particular.

Eventually, the incorporation of compulsory hijabs became law everywhere. Places of business were obligated to hang signs that said “no entry without hijab” and those who defied the compulsory codes faced detainment, fines and even lashes in the 1980s and ’90s.

Today, those penalties are substituted with extensive prison terms, evident in last year’s case involving three Iranian women who were sentenced by the Iranian Revolutionary Court to prison terms of at least 16 years each for disobeying the country’s Islamic dress code. Dress code requirements in the Islamic Republic necessitate that women wear headscarves as well as long garments covering at a minimum both the torso and legs.

Source » jpost