Those stinkin’ badges

Reuters reports that Canada’s National Post has retracted Amir Taheri’s report that the Iranian clothing law will require religious minorities to wear color-coded strips. The New York Daily News evinces nothing but Schadenfreude regarding the New York Post in reporting on the retraction.

I am struck, however, by the lack of interest in the undisputed component of the law on which Taheri focused. Taheri reported that the the Iranian Majlis had adopted legislation that prescribed the clothing to be worn by Muslims:

The law mandates the government to make sure that all Iranians wear “standard Islamic garments” designed to remove ethnic and class distinctions reflected in clothing, and to eliminate “the influence of the infidel” on the way Iranians, especially, the young dress.

Taheri also reported that the law “envisages separate dress codes for religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians.” It is the latter element of the law that generated the furor, but I have not seen any report taking issue with Taheri’s account of the pending imposition of an Islamic dress code. If such a dress code were to become effective, religiously based noncompliance (assuming it is permitted) would identify the offenders as non-Muslims or infidels. Along with Reuters and the Daily News, the mainstream media have overlooked this apparently troubling consideration.

JOHN adds: Amir Taheri explains:

REGARDING the Iran dress code story, it seems that some media outlets used my column as the basis for reports that jumped the gun.

As far as my article is concerned, I stand by it.

The law has been passed by the Islamic Majlis and will now be submitted to the Council of Guardians. A committee has been appointed to work out the modalities of implementation.

Many ideas are being discussed with regard to implementation of the dress code – including special markers, known as zonnars, for followers of Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism….

I do not know which of these ideas, if any, will be eventually adopted. We will know once the committee appointed to discuss them presents its report, perhaps in September.

As Scott notes, it is hard to see how Iran can regulate the clothing worn by Muslims without also regulating the clothing worn by non-Muslims, either explicitly or implicitly.

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