At Least 40 Women Killed When Mosque in Iran Catches Fire

At a mosque in Iran yesterday, at least 59 people were killed and over 250 injured after a female worshipper’s veil was set on fire by a kerosene heater. Forty of the people killed were women. Women were separated from the men on the second floor, which is a common practice in the country, causing them to have to run down a narrow set of stairs, resulting in the trampling of many women, reports the Associated Press.

Iran‘s interpretation of Islamic law regarding women’s dress dictates that women must wear the chador, a long, loose-fitting black cloak worn over clothing, and a head covering. A doctor at the scene of the fire said that many of the burns women suffered were caused by the inflammable material that is used to make the chadors, AP reports. Last year, the conservative government ordered that any woman seen defying the Iranian female dress code would be subject to fines, prison and even flogging.

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Associated Press 2/15/05; Reuters 2/16/05; Feminist Daily News Wire 2/10/05, 6/24/04

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