Mary Mohammadi told she can’t have old job back, arrested again

Mary Mohammadi told she can’t have old job back, arrested again

Iranian Christian convert Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi has been arrested again – this time for alleged “improper” hijab – and continues to be denied employment a year after her latest release from prison.

The 22-year-old was arrested by Iran’s “morality police” on Monday, 18 January, and told her trousers were too tight, her headscarf was not correctly adjusted, and she should not be wearing an unbuttoned coat.

Mary has already spent six months in prison as a result of her membership of a house-church – recently labelled by the Iranian regime as “enemy groups” belonging to a “Zionist” cult – and was last year given another suspended prison sentence for participating in a peaceful protest.

Mary says she has been unable to return to her work as a gymnastics instructor since her release from prison in February last year, despite good relations with her employer.

She says it’s “very clear” her employer has been put under pressure by intelligence agents to prevent her return to work, telling her they can’t afford to take any risks as they have a young child.

Mary has been cautioned for improper hijab once before – having initially gone to the police to complain of an assault – and in December 2019 was kicked out of university on the eve of her exams.

In October 2020, Mary reflected on the impact of this denial of education, saying it was “like a life imprisonment or exile that has been issued in absentia”. 

“Everything is affected,” she wrote. “Your work, income, social status, identity, mental health, satisfaction with yourself, your life, your place in society, your independence. 

“And as a woman it’s even harder to remain patient and endure, in a society so opposed to women and femininity, though crying out for them both.”