Iranian women defy fatwa against cycling by taking to their bikes

Women in Iran are defying a newly-introduced rule that they should not cycle in public as it "contravenes women's chastity"

Women in Iran have responded to a new fatwa banning women from cycling issued by the country's supreme leader Ali Khamenei by riding their bikes in public.

Ali Khamenei ruled that a woman riding a bike is sinful, and said that: "Riding a bicycle often attracts the attention of men and exposes the society to corruption, and thus contravenes women's chastity."

Women have been filming themselves riding in Iran since the fatwa was introduced, and then posting videos and photographs on the 'My Stealthy Freedom' Facebook account with the hashtag #IranianWomenLoveCycling.

On Monday, a mother and daughter posted a video of themselves riding in Kish in the country, and said that "We love cycling and we will never give up".

>>> Iranian women forced to sign contract pledging never to cycle in public

"Bicycle riding is part of our lives," they said in the video. "We were here when we heard Ayatollah Khamenei's fatwa banning women from bicycling. We immediately rented two bicycles to say we're not giving up cycling."

"It's our absolute right and we're not going to give up."

Another woman posted a photograph of herself cycling, and left the message: "In order to be able to lead an ordinary life, I, as a woman, have to engage in a daily 'war'.

"Am I a criminal because I love life and I love cycling? Let's be mindful of the fact we can attain victory by fighting tirelessly [for our rights]. Long live peace, life, and respect for each others' rights."

In July, the Independent reported that several women were arrested in Iran for riding bicycles. The women had to sign a pledge to say that they would not cycle again in public.

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