Iran, And You Can Run Too: New Iranian App For Avoiding Morality Police

In much of the world, apps can provide amusing diversions or helpful little bits of information for daily life.  However in Iran, one app has achieved a new level of importance regarding an issue that few Westerners would (hopefully) never have to worry about...

How would you like to be fined and forced to sign a confession of repentance
just for not covering your hair?
(Image courtesy bbc.com.)

According to iranhumanrights.org, the new Gershad app allows users to avoid the morality police that enforce the government's arcane rules regarding public behavior.  Citizens can upload information regarding the location of the Ershad ("Guidance") squad's mobile enforcement units so that women who dare show their hair (and other perceived moral atrocities) can exist freely.

Despite the app's servers being located outside of Iran, the app was blocked by the Iranian government after only one day.  Within hours of the app's launch, it was downloaded thousands of times.

This is your map icon for navigating around the morality squads, heathen.
(Image courtesy twitter.com.)

Iran's citizens are ruled by an Islamic theocratic state in which the general populace are not allowed to enjoy many luxuries that Western citizens take for granted.  The morality police, a security force under the auspices of the Revolutionary Guards and Interior Ministry, may harass people in public over slights as innocent as riding in a car with an unmarried member of the opposite sex.  Females are particularly targeted for not observing proper hijab (dress and head covering) while in public. In 2014, nearly three million warnings were given to Iranian women regarding this issue.

In addition to the government's tenacity, the far-right Iranians who decry the perceived loss of public morality often form vigilante groups to impose their own style of morality policing. Trendy hair or stylish clothes on men are taboo, as are a litany of female activities, including wearing too much makeup or simply taking a stroll with a male companion. Various interpretations of what is officially forbidden exist, adding to even more social stress.


Although we kind of understand policing certain ridiculous male trends.
It's effective...there's no Islamic hipsters (Hipslamics?)
(Image courtesy deathandtaxesmag.com.)


According to the BBC, the Gershad developers explained their reasoning in a statement on their website: "Police need to provide security for the citizens not to turn into a factor for fear. A while ago, angry with such unreasonable oppressions, we looked for a solution to find a practical way to resist the volume of injustices peacefully with low risk level, to restore part of our freedom."

Although the app has been shut down, the idea of it cannot be.  Gershad's developers say they are working on a secure, updated version of the app.  Hopefully a replacement or updated version of the software will be made available to help more folks find freedom.


This the farthest thing from a party bus that you ever want to encounter.
(Image courtesy iranhumanrights.org.)


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