SNP activist Calum Cooper tells The National why he's asking delegates to support the topical resolution to condemn misogynistic policies and stand in solidarity with women in Iran and around the world.

I first visited Iran in 2019. I had the most amazing time and met so many fantastic people.

All of them are now crying out for help, for awareness, for whatever anyone can do to support their struggle against the Iranian regime's oppressive laws which seek to police what women can and can't wear.

The policing of how women dress isn't a new phenomenon in Iran.

These sorts of policies date back to 1939, when Reza Shah, the king of Iran and a strong ally of the UK, banned the largely Muslim population of Iran from wearing hijab, and began his campaign of effectively forcing women to dress in western clothing instead.

His son, Mohammad Reza Shah, was overthrown in 1979 by the current regime who went on to do a complete 180 and instead mandate hijab.

Regardless of who's been in power, backed by the west or not, women in Iran haven't been able to exercise their basic right to freedom of expression for the best part of the last hundred years.

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But this situation isn't unique to Iran. While my friends in Iran, Muslim or not, whether they choose to wear hijab or not, have been crying out in fierce protest against these policies, while innocent women such as Nika Shakrami and Sarina Ismailzadeh have been murdered or worse for protesting peacefully, a more silent struggle is going on closer to home, on the exact same issue.

One which I've seen very few people outside the Muslim community speak about.

In France, a Muslim woman can be physically assaulted because of her hijab. If she were to wear that hijab to court to testify against her assailant, France's militant interpretation of the country's laws on secularism would have her breaking the law, and subject to ejection from the courthouse.

In Denmark, a woman who chooses to exercise her right to freedom of religion and wear a niqab will be fined up to £1,176.

Similar laws are in place in Austria, Netherlands and Switzerland, which voted to criminalise women for making their own choices about their clothing as recently as last year.

Unfortunately, these laws have received very little attention or condemnation within mainstream politics compared to those in Iran. I understand why.

People were murdered in Iran for choosing to dress the way most of us here in Scotland dress. Iran's policies and actions must be condemned, but we can't leave the women of France, Denmark, Switzerland, and of Europe behind.

We can't sit idly by and watch. That's why at the SNP's national conference this weekend, I'm pleading to all delegates to support our topical resolution to condemn these misogynistic policies and stand in solidarity with women the world over in their struggle for their freedom.