May 21 2014
Taking a page out of the Obama book on arresting filmmakers who insult Islam, Iran arrests and holds director of “obscene ‘Happy’ video” that Iran finds “offensive to Muslim public morals”
Three men and three women who were arrested in Iran for dancing in a video to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” have been freed, but the director of the video was not released. I wonder if the women prisoners were raped by the guards as is common in Iran?
CNN Tehran Police Chief Hossein Sajedinia ordered the arrests of the three men and three women for helping make an “obscene video clip that offended the public morals and was released in cyberspace,” the Iranian Students’ News Agency reported Wednesday. Authorities forced the young people to repent on state TV.
“It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness,” the Grammy Award winner said on his Facebook page. Just like in the singer’s original video, the Iranian fan version features a montage of men and women dancing to the song in a variety of settings.
The arrests come amid growing support on Facebook for an unrelated project featuring photographs submitted by women who appear without Iran’s legally required head scarves. The page, created May 3, has more than 300,000 likes. “This is the voice of Iranian women who have been censored all their lives in Iran,” London-based journalist Masih Alinejad, who created the page, told HLN, CNN’s sister network. “And now social media is giving them the opportunity to speak out, to be themselves.”
Conversely, Iranian officials and some journalists denounced an Iranian actress who extended her hand in greeting to a film festival executive and received a kiss on the cheek from him, according to media reports. The BBC reported that a conservative journalism organization run by Iran’s state broadcaster said actress Leila Hatami engaged in “unconventional and improper” behavior by extending her hand to Cannes Film Festival president Gilles Jacob.
The National Iranian American Council condemned Iranian authorities. “There are forces within Iran’s government who want to keep the Iranian people isolated from the world,” the council said in a statement. “The irony that the Iranian youth were arrested for dancing to a song called ‘Happy’ seems to be lost on the Iranian authorities.”