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Angelina Jolie Instagram lookalike Fatemeh Khishvand was sentenced to 10 years in jail. Why is she a threat to the Iranian government?

Zombie Angelina Jolie lookalike jailed: Why is she serving time?

Zombie Angelina Jolie is serving time in Iran for her viral work on Instagram. She hasn’t murdered someone, harmed a child, or committed fraud. You’ll probably be surprised to hear what her offense is. In fact, you’d probably be surprised about many things that are considered to be an offense punishable by law in Iran.

The viral Instagram star was arrested in 2019 for turning herself into a ghoulish Angelina Jolie look-alike. The 500,000 followers who started enjoying her content were taken aback when she was arrested but they probably didn’t think the charge would go too far. Surely, you can’t be jailed for what was essentially a drastic cosplay, right?

Wrong.

Zombie Angleina Jolie look-alike is serving time

Fatemeh Khishvand, otherwise known as Sahar Tabar, made her appearance on Instagram as a warped Angelina Jolie look-alike about a year ago. For a long time people debated how much of the nineteen-year-old’s costume was the result of cosmetic surgery and how much of it was Photoshop manipulation & makeup.

Khishvand eventually made an Instagram post confirming that part of the look was photo manipulation: “People are probably living in the 18th century and they haven’t seen or heard of technology or make-up and they are really surprised.”

Khishvand went under the knife to receive a nose job, enlarged mouth, & liposuction. She weighed only eighty-five pounds at the time of her photo stunt. Khishvand used makeup and Photoshop to achieve the rest of her look, as depicted in a side by side photo she shared on social media.

Khishvand probably never imagined she would be jailed for the playful expression of her look-alike likeness. Perhaps she should have since it’s not the first time someone in Iran has been jailed for acts the government considered disgraceful or offensive.

When she was arrested in October of 2019, she was charged with blasphemy and inciting violence. The Iranian government apparently deemed her behavior would corrupt Iranian youths and they charged her with this, as well as with disrespect for the Islamic Republic.

The blasphemy and inciting violence charges have since been dropped but Khishvand was still sentenced to ten years in prison for her little Instagram stunt.

Article 24 of the Iranian constitution states: “Publications and the press have freedom of expression except when it is detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam or the rights of the public.”  The somewhat paradoxical statement allows for a lot of leeway in regards to censorship. Is it the right of the people to express themselves or are they only allowed to express themselves when the government has decided they have the right?

Women’s rights in Iran

Westerners would find that many of the practices still carried out in many Middle Eastern countries are quite archaic in the area of human rights. The rights of women are particularly infringed upon in the name of violating core Islamic principles. Because religion is so deeply entwined with the governance of Iran, malevolent people do not hesitate to use the scriptures to maintain & abuse their power in society.

Qur’an 4:34 instructs men on how to treat their wives and other women. Men are described as the “caretakers” and the “maintainers” of women. It goes on to say, “So, the righteous women are obedient, (and) guard (the property & honor of their husbands) in (their) absence with the protection given by Allah. As for women of whom you fear rebellion, convince them, and leave them apart in beds, and beat them.”

Many wicked men have used this verse as an excuse to tear down and beat females who dare to oppose them in opinion or conduct themselves in a way they disapprove of. Indeed Islamic officials have used the reasoning of Qur’an verses to turn a blind eye to or even approve of things like marital rape, corporal punishment, spousal abuse.

Peaceful Muslims point out that the verse instructs a man to beat his wife “lightly” and only as a last resort. However, at the risk of sounding islamophobia, many purport that it’s problematic such an instruction would be included as an acceptable form of conduct at all. The implications are harmful and easily inclined toward vile outcomes.

Iranian journalist & activist Masih Alinejad laments the negative features of Iranian government. She stated, “Islamic Republic has a history of tormenting women. We need to be united against this gender apartheid.” Activists like Alinejad seek the dismantling of anti-feminist and anti-free speech practices such as the one perpetrated against Angelina Jolie look-alike Fatemeh Khishvand.

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