Iranian cleric: Women who wear revealing clothing cause earthquakes
Women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes, a senior Iranian cleric has said.
Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi’s comments follow a warning by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that a quake is certain to hit the capital Tehran and that many residents should relocate.
In a prayer sermon, the cleric said: ‘Many women who do not dress modestly… lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes.’
Women in the Islamic Republic are required by law to cover from head to toe. But many, especially the young, ignore some of the stricter codes and wear tight coats and scarves pulled back to show much of their hair.
‘What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble?’ Sedighi asked. ‘There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam’s moral codes. A divine authority told me to tell the people to make a general repentance. Why? Because calamities threaten us.’
Iran is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, and seismologists have warned for 20 years that one is likely to hit Tehran, which straddles scores of fault lines, in the near future. Some 12million people live in the city, which was last struck in 1830.
Two weeks ago President Ahmadinejad said ‘at least 5million’ should leave Tehran because of the earthquake threat.
Some experts have even suggested Iran should move its capital to a less seismically active location. Tehran straddles scores of fault lines, including one more than 50 miles (80 kilometres) long, though it has not suffered a major quake since 1830.
In 2003, a powerful earthquake hit the southern city of Bam, killing 31,000 people – about a quarter of that city’s population – and destroying its ancient mud-built citadel.
Referring to the violence that followed last June’s disputed presidential election, Sedighi said, ‘The political earthquake that occurred was a reaction to some of the actions (that took place).
‘And now, if a natural earthquake hits Tehran, no one will be able to confront such a calamity but God’s power, only God’s power… So let’s not disappoint God.’
The Iranian government and its security forces have been locked in a bloody battle with a large opposition movement that accuses Ahmadinejad of winning last year’s vote by fraud.
Minister of Welfare and Social Security Sadeq Mahsooli said prayers and pleas for forgiveness were the best ‘formulas to repel earthquakes’.
‘We cannot invent a system that prevents earthquakes