The 2017 Women’s World Chess Championship


To: Nazi Paikidze-Barnes, 2016 U.S. Women’s Chess Champion

Re: The 2017 Women’s World Chess Championship

Dear Nazi Paikidze

Your decision to boycott the Women’s World Chess Championship in Iran on February 2017 and speaking out against forcing women to wear hijab is tremendously admirable and inspiring.

My name is Shiva Mahbobi and I am writing to you as a woman who grew up in Iran and experienced being forced to wear hijab (Islamic dress code) from childhood. I spent more than three year in prisons in Iran as a political prisoner and was tortured at the age of 16 for demanding my rights.

When I was only 13 years old I was suspended from school for two weeks as a punishment just because a small piece of my hair was not covered under my scarf. I felt humiliated, angry.

Hijab is not just a piece of clothing or a dress style. Hijab is a symbol of women’s slavery. Hijab is a mobile prison for women. I know this because I have experienced the humiliation and pressure of wearing hijab every single day of my life for many years in Iran. I know this because I saw how we women were punished severely and attacked by the Islamic government’s  guards for not properly wearing hijab. Could you e imagine how would it feel like to live in fear every single day because of what you wear?  Wearing hijab is not a choice, it is an imposed Islamic decree in Iran and other countries under the Islamic laws and severe punishment awaits those who do not submit to it. Women in Iran have never chosen hijab, they have been demonstrating against wearing hijab since 1979 in Iran.

I fled Iran and living in the UK now. I am a women’s rights activist and the spokesperson for the Campaign to Free Political Prisoners (CFPPI).

On behalf of millions of women in Iran, I would like to thank you for your courageous decision to boycott and speaking up against suppression of women. Accepting the condition of wearing hijab as a prerequisite for attending the Women’s World Chess Championship in Iran is an insult to the dignity of all women. I am hoping that all other champions and athletes follow your example and stand up and defend their own dignity as a woman.

Your decision to boycott the Women’s World Chess Championship in Iran to protest wearing compulsory hijab is a support for millions of women and their fight against this symbol of slavery. Your decision supports hundreds of women’s rights activists who are in prison in Iran now.

Your decision supports millions of seven-years-old girls, whom their excitement of first day of school, has been crushed by being forced to wear hijab.

Best regards

Shiva Mahbobi












About shivamahbobi

Women's rights activist and spokesperson for ​ Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI), former political prisoner ,TV producer and presenter

Posted on October 16, 2016, in English, Political Prisoners - زندانيان سياسى, Women's Rights - زنان and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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