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Iran's Ahmadinejad steps into Islamic fashion fray

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 28 Dec 2011 12:47 GMT
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NEW YORK (TrustLaw) - In addition to dealing with Iran's increasingly complicated role in international affairs, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has taken on the pressing issue of how his country’s women dress.

In a country that requires women, by law, to cover their hair and bodies, a dispute has broken out between conservative clerics, who favour the all-enveloping cloak known as a chador, and rebellious fashion-conscious women who prefer more body-conscious styles.

According to a report by the Washington Post, Ahmadinejad has inserted himself between both camps by proposing a government-approved dress code of fashions that are both "Islamic and beautiful".

The new styles, some of which feature colours other than the traditional black and lengths that fall well short of the ankle, recently debuted at a government-sponsored fashion show. The fashions apparently delighted many women at the same time they dismayed conservatives who found them woefully short of Islamic standards of decency.

Iran's morality police, who routinely crack down on women who take liberties with the conservative dress code, rounded up 70 fashion designers in November and closed more than 400 shops selling designs deemed "improper", according to the report.

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