By: Khatereh Noorshid
Computer programmers very recently launched a mobile app called “Gershad”, which alerts users if the morality police “Gashte Ershads” are nearby.
After almost 37 Years of “Cat and Mouse” game between the Islamic Police and people in Iran a mobile app could save so many youngsters life.
Under Islamic Republic of Iran, the morality police, a unit of the National Police, are charged with insuring that Iranian citizens comply with so-called Islamic law. For example, morality officers have to make sure that women wear full Hejab. If they see a young man and woman walking together, they can stop them and ask if they are married or are blood related. If the morality police suspect that they are an unmarried couple, they can reprimand them.
This is where The new app could save people from Islamic police, while hanging in the streets with possibility of being caught by “ Gasht-e-ershad”.
How this app works? Is very simple. If a user sees a “Gasht-e-Ershad”, an officer of the morality police, in the street, can upload the officer’s location to the app, then other users will be immediately warned and can change their route.
This app designed to end “humiliation”
The app has built-in checks to make sure that users are sharing credible information. For example, users have to activate their GPS and can only identify officers who are within a one-kilometer radius of their location. You can also see how many other people have already identified an officer at a precise location. The more people who report that officer, the more trustworthy the alert becomes. Finally, a user can also enter his or her favorite neighborhoods and receive specialized alerts when a police officer shows up there.
This app called “Gershad” can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. In the description of this app is written:”Everyone knows to what extent we are humiliated by the morality police. Many websites are full of photo and video evidence of the humiliations that young women in particular undergo. The Gershad app is a peaceful way to minimize the risks and to bring us back a little freedom.” It’s hard to say if this app will take off in Iran, but people seem to be trying it out already. If you log in, you can see that several users have already uploaded officer locations.
According to official figures, in 2014, the morality police stopped 3.6 million women for cases of so-called “badly worn” hijabs. In total 180,000 women were arrested and 18, 000 were judged before a tribunal.
The authorities also estimate that they stopped 40,000 cars because the women inside were allegedly wearing “inappropriate clothing “. Some women dare to show a bit more skin if, for example, they are going from one gated community to another and know they won’t have to get out of their car in between. In most cases, women are freed after their friends or family bring them more conservative clothes. However, for a second offence, women can be fined.
There is to say this “ Gashte-ershad “ normally appears in front door of every public events in Iran such as Concerts, theaters, exhibitions and generally where ever this feel like it.
Since moderate Rohani Government took office, there’s been a decrease in the number of morality police on the streets. Some observers believe the Islamic police are an independent force and Governments have no control over their actions and their order comes directly from supreme leader’s office. i.e attacking Embassies, interfering in people’s daily life, Arbitrary arrests of political activists, and etc.