Iran Bans Music in All Schools
According to The Miami Herald, the extermination of music education in Iran is rampant. Music is already banned in Iranian public schools and the trend is continuing into the country’s 16,000 private schools. Over one million students are forbidden to use any musical instruments. Even the playing of traditional music is banned in schools.
“The use of musical instruments is against the principles of our value system,” said Ali Bagherzadeh, head of the Private Schools Office in the Education Ministry. Iran has allocated $1.5 billion to promote and enforce moral conduct. Also on the list of banned activities is loud laughter, nail polish, dancing and indecent clothing. These bans are an attempt by the government “to solve the cultural and social ills,” Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said.
Iran’s religious leader, Ayatollah Khomenei, says music is “not compatible” with the values of the Islamic republic and should not be practiced or taught in the country.
In Iran, over one million students are forbidden to use any musical instruments. Even the playing of traditional music is banned in schools.
According to England’s The Guardian, Khomenei also said, “its better that our dear youth spend their valuable time in learning science and essential and useful skills and fill their time with sport and healthy recreations instead of music.”
Banning cultural norms taken for granted in the West is not uncommon. Islamic penal codes are based on political and religious stand points that present restrictions for men and women. Under Shiraz University’s code, women must wear loose, long coats in subdued colors that hang below the knee. Men are not permitted to wear jewelry or short-sleeve shirts, and they must wear loose trousers. Shoes shouldn’t have pointed toes, make noise or have heels higher than three centimeters. According to the Islamic police, Iran is enforcing clothing restrictions on retailers as well. The police force carries “approved” skirts for women violating the code to change into.
When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected in 2005, the ban on music in Iran gained momentum. Ahmadinejad’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance disallowed the distribution of thousands of albums and the number of public permits granted for concerts has lessened significantly in the past five years.
To quote the Koran, “The Prophet said that Allah commanded him to destroy all the musical instruments, idols, crosses and all the trappings of ignorance” (Hadith Qudsi 19:5). Mohammed Najjar says, the police will “deal firmly” with violators of Iran’s laws on moral conduct.
These situations are rarely publicized in Iran, but the current trend seems to indicate that music will slowly be eradicated from the country.
by Emily Bloch
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