- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 28, 2004

Iran’s parliament is preparing fashion designs for national Islamic costumes to combat what they call the corrupting influence of Western fashion.

Agence France Presse reports the move comes after the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned the nation about a “cultural invasion” and the dangers to public morality of imitating foreigners. Iranians needed to design their own styles, he said.

A special Parliamentary committee report has been submitted with recommendations for national costumes. Here are some ideas the Iranian parliamentary committee should consider:

New and special costumes are needed to go with the historic vocations of the new Iran. These fashion designs reject undesirable and corrupting Western styles. These fashion proposals are in strict harmony with Iranian religious practice.

Adulterers are generally stoned to death by assembled onlookers in keeping with Islamic teachings. Therefore, a pleated dress shirt should be made for stoning adulterers, preferably in white silk to attest to the stone-throwers’ purity. The stone-throwers should have a free throwing arm, so both right and left sleeves should be amply (mutton-shaped) proportioned from shoulder to forearm. Stoning adulterers is a religious rite and participants should dress as for a holy day.

For the lesser punishment of whipping, as prescribed for violators of Islamic law, a different colored shirt — red — should be designed for the whipper and witnesses. An experienced whipper will start guilty blood flowing and even spurting from the criminal. This would discolor a white shirt and make it perhaps unsuitable for normal wear. A red shirt would eliminate that problem.

Different costumes are needed for those who fulfill the religious authorities’ orders to inflict pain on sinners. (We repudiate designation of these devout Muslims as “torturers” when, as is well known, the punishment is a form of penance to assure the victim a place in paradise.) Pain inflicters need a sleeveless shirt to keep the swinging arm free from the shoulder down.

Special costumes are needed for the dedicated hangmen, one for those who prepare male sinners for hanging and another for those who prepare the hanging of women, especially young female law violators. It is not morally proper or civilized that the hangman who oversaw the execution of a 16-year-old girl sinner last week should wear the same costume as a hangman who supervises the ultimate fate of a hardened criminal.

The 16-year-old girl, Ateqeh Sahaleh, was publicly hanged in the city center on Sunday, Aug. 15, in the town of Neka. The sentence was issued by the head of Neka’s Justice Department and subsequently upheld by the mullahs’ Supreme Court.

At her trial, the teenager had no lawyer, and her family’s efforts to recruit a lawyer were to no avail.

Ateqeh personally defended herself. She told the religious judge, Haji Rezaii, he should punish the main perpetrators of moral corruption, not the victims. After her execution, Judge Rezai said he had her killed for her “sharp tongue.”

Above all, there must be an extraordinary costume for Muslim men and women who make the ultimate sacrifice as jihadists (the infidel description of “suicide bombers” should be repudiated). The holy martyrs will be arriving at a heaven that will welcome them with open arms, and they should have a costume that shows they are faithful followers of Islam. For these holy martyrs, we will design a gown of gold-streaked silk with a green band hem on which will be imprinted the sacred words “Allah Akhbar” and the photograph of the revered and immortal Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

If necessary, a fatwa will be issued coincident with Iran National Fashion Week to ensure these recommendations are fulfilled.

Arnold Beichman is a Hoover Institution research fellow. His updated biography “Herman Wouk, the Novelist as Social Historian,” will be published next month.

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