A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jeans, Jinn, and Iran's Morality Police

I'm paying too little attention to Iran lately and need, sometime soon, to address the growing conflicts between the Supreme Leader and the President. But for right now something a little lighter, which, however, may be a reflex of that struggle: "Jeans 'are named for jinns and can make you infertile', Iranians told."  Now a couple of caveats first: a UAE newspaper like The National has its own agenda on Iran, of course. And it does bother me to see any newspaper in the Arab world, even one in English, use "Jinns" in a headline, since jinn is already a plural. It's like saying "geeses" or "feets" or something. (The singular, of course, is jinni, as in the "genie" of the Lamp.)

But on to the story itself. Arguments over dress code, it claims, are part of the Khamene'i/Ahmadinejad power struggle, and Iran has a developing morality police that seem akin to Saudi Arabia's mutawa‘in, if more selective.

Two further thoughts on the jeans/jinn question: first, do young men really find infertility (as opposed to impotence of course) a bad thing? Until they're ready for kids, at least?

And secondly, please don't tell them jeans were popularized by Levi Strauss. Imagine what they might do with that.

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