Iranian Athlete Bucked Hijab During International Competition, Then Her Family Home Was Demolished
A banner 'Stand with the women of Iran' is seen during solidarity demonstration in memory of Mahsa Amini, at the Main Square in Krakow, Poland on October 1st, 2022.
Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Iranian state media over the weekend announced that the family home of rock climber Elnaz Rekabi had been demolished, just months after the female athlete participated in an international competition without her hijab.

Rekabi, 33, later apologized for not wearing her state-mandated head covering, but the moment was perceived as a protest against her government following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman arrested by the morality police who then died while in their custody.

Footage reportedly shows a demolished home with medals on the ground, according to CNN. The athlete’s brother Davood, a champion rock climber himself, is crying in the video.

“This is the result of living in this country,” an unknown man capturing the footage says. “A country’s champion with kilos of medals for this country. Worked hard to make this country proud. They pepper sprayed him and demolished a 39 sqm house and left. What can I say?”


Following what many interpreted as a protest, Rekabi took to social media to say that she forgot to put on her head covering and apologized. However, anti-government groups say the young woman was forced into the backtrack over safety concerns.

“Due to inappropriate timing, and an unpredictable call for me to climb the wall, there was accidentally a problem with my head cover,” Rekabi reportedly wrote.

The 33-year-old added that she flew back to Iran “according to the pre-arranged schedule,” addressing concerns over her safety after the competition.

Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad responded online, “This is an act of terror; forced confession.”

“Elnaz Rekabi refused forced hijab while competing in Seoul,” she tweeted. “Her phone & passport was confiscated by Islamic Republic, [s]he has gone missing, Elnaz returned to Iran & announced: not wearing hijab was not intentional.” 

After months of protest, a top official in Iran reportedly declared the abolition of the state’s morality police, The Daily Wire reported over the weekend.

Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri announced the decision at a religious conference on Sunday when asked if the morality police, tasked with enforcing Iran’s Islamic dress code, would be disbanded, according to BBC Persian. Iranian state media outlets reported the news late Saturday night.

“The morality police had nothing to do with the judiciary and have been shut down from where they were set up,” he said.

The report stressed that control of the force sits within the jurisdiction of the interior ministry, and other agencies have not confirmed the fate of the morality police.

Daniel Chaitin contributed to this report.

Related: Iran Morality Police Abolished, Attorney General Says

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