Iranian chador-wearing newscaster outed in Switzerland—unveiled and drinking beer

Never forget: social media is forever, and even if you remove something embarrassing you posted in an unwise or inebriated moment, somebody will have taken a screenshot. Or if you’re in public doing something you don’t want publicized, remember that everyone has a camera with a cellphone. That’s what happened here. It’s been reported by the BBC, so the woman has already been publicly “outed.”

Her name is Azadeh Namdari, whom the Beeb identifies as a “conservative Iranian television host”. They also report this:

Namdari is known in Iran as a proponent of the Islamic dress code.

A photo of her in full hijab was once published in the conservative Iranian newspaper Vatan-e Emruz under the headline: “Thank God, I wear the veil”.

Those who know Arabic can translate, at least the white text. She wears not just the headscarf, but the chador, a full-length garment that is held closed in the front and is common (but not required) in Iran. Wearing the hijab, or headscarf, however, is required. Thus Namdari goes beyond government requirements, and praises her covering. Here’s the photo and text in that newspaper:

The kicker, however, is that a video emerged of Namdari on holiday in Switzerland, not wearing her headscarf and guzzling a beer. Going unveiled is a crime in Iran, as is drinking. And drinking is also considered un-Islamic in general. Here’s one shot from the video.

And one from a tweet:

Of course Namdari had an excuse, but it’s not credible (my emphasis below):

In response to the revelations, Namdari published another video of herself in which she offered reasons for not wearing a hijab.

The two-minute long video was published by the hardline Young Journalists’ Club(YJC) news agency under the headline “Azadeh Namdari’s reaction to the publication of scandalous photos in cyberspace”.

This time wearing a hijab, she explained she was sitting with family members and “maharem” – close relatives among whom a woman does not need to wear a hijab – in a park. She said her scarf fell suddenly and the video was taken at that instant by an unknown person.

She gave no explanation about drinking beer in the video.

The explanation brought further criticism from social media users, citing Namdari’s “hypocrisy” and “dual-behaviour,” and using her name as the Persian hashtag#Azadeh_Namdari.

Since the initial video emerged on 24 July the hashtag has been used over 11,000 times.

The claim that her scarf fell suddenly doesn’t wash because she’s clearly wearing sunglasses atop her head, which she couldn’t have done under a hijab. It’s all a lie.

But I really feel sorry for her. This is how many Iranian women would dress and behave were they not coerced by their oppressive and theocratic government. And it’s how many Iranian women did dress and behave before the 1979 revolution, when they were forced, even after mass protests, to wear the hijab. And I suspect Namdari will lose her job, or at the least be reviled when she returns to Iran—if she can return to Iran.

The only thing I don’t like about her behavior was her thanking Allah that she covers herself. She didn’t have to say that. But again, let’s cut her a break because she’s simply going along with the theocracy, and has an important job to keep.

Who should be vilified in this incident is not Namdari, but those bearded imams who make it necessary for her to pretend she likes covering herself, when all she really wants to do is kick back, take off those hot garments, and enjoy a nice brewski.

41 Comments

  1. kategladstone
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Re:
    “Those who know Arabic can translate, at least the white text.”

    No, the newspaper (being Iranian) is in Iran’s national language, Farsi. Although Farsi uses the Arabic alphabet (with four letters added for sounds that Farsi uses but Arabic doesn’t), Farsi isn’t even in the same language family as Arabic. (Arabic’s a Semitic language, but Farsi — being an Indo-European language — is actually a distant relative of English, French, Russian, Urdu, and several hundred other languages around the world.)

    Telling Arabic-speakers that they can read a Farsi newspaper because they know Arabic is like telling English-speakers that we can read a Hungarian newspaper because we know English.

    • Posted July 26, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Ok, thanks. Farsi speakers can translate.

      • kategladstone
        Posted July 26, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        And thank YOU for caring about reality. You wouldn’t, probably, believe what flak I often get for noting and correcting people’s mistaken assumptions about language(s) — the most frequent response to a note like mine, in many quarters (even among “the educated”), would be: “Oh, I’m pretty sure that all those Muslim languages would obviously be basically all the same, just maybe different dialects or something, so I feel they can have NOTHING to do with a normal language like English.”

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 27, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

          I never thought about Farsi but it’s cool that it’s Indo-European because that makes it easier for me to learn. 🙂 It’s all about me.

  2. Andy Lowry
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    It’s not impossible that the beer in question is non-alcoholic. I drink those sometimes; they would be hard to distinguish from regular beer without a close-up of the label.

    • Posted July 26, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Wanna bet? Someone will identify it, and I bet you $10 is has alcohol in it.

      You on?

      • Andy Lowry
        Posted July 26, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Sure, why not. I don’t expect to win, but it would be $10 worth of fun anyway!

        • Posted July 26, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

          Well, someone has to find out!

          • Andy Lowry
            Posted July 26, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

            Yep, looks like I lose. I’ll send an email later today to see where you want the armored truck to show up.

        • FH
          Posted July 26, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          I’m not entirely sure because the picture is rather blurry, but the beer on the table in the first picture from the tweet looks like a Holsten to me. If it is, it’s a Radler (cause the proper beers come in brown bottles, Radlers in green). Radler is a mix of half beer, half (most commonly) lemon soda. Alcohol content is low (around 2%) but there’s still alcohol in it. There are alcohol-free Radlers but those are less common because the alcohol content of a Radler is already so low.

          • darrelle
            Posted July 26, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

            Not a big difference but the Radler I’ve seen is 3%. I’m only familiar with it in cans so I can’t say if these bottles are Radler or not.

            • FH
              Posted July 26, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

              2-2.5% is most common in the ones I know, sometimes it’s 3. Holsten Radler has 2.5%, just googled. They do sell an alcohol free Radler as well, though which looks almost the same.

              • Randy schenck
                Posted July 26, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

                Maybe she was in a 3.2 state??

          • Andy Lowry
            Posted July 26, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

            In another photo, there’s what looks like a red “X” on the label, does that sound familiar? It’s not anything I’ve ever seen.

          • Andy Lowry
            Posted July 26, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

            From the photo at the bottom left here: https://twitter.com/merry_8_4/status/889335629481336832/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fboingboing.net%2F2017%2F07%2F25%2Fconservative-iranian-televisio.html

            it looks like it might be a Feldschloesschen, in which case I owe our host a tenner.

            • FH
              Posted July 26, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

              Oh yeah from this picture it’s definitely not a Holsten. Feldschlösschen looks about right. But then we can’t really say if there was alcohol in it because the alcohol-free beers they make come in the exact same bottles with very similar labels.

            • Perluigi Ballabeni
              Posted July 26, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

              It looks very much like a Feldschlösschen indeed. A bad beer compared to the couple of hundreds microbreweries that have been created in the country lately. Feldschlösschen produces beer withour alcohol as well. Impossible to seen in the photo whether it is one.

              • Jacques Hausser
                Posted July 26, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

                Feldschlösschen, yes. Looking carefully at the picture – and another one of the same scene I found on the web – I think it is the “Alkoholfrei” version. The blue color of the collar and the border of the label seems darker than in the “Original” version and it is a faint suggestion of the thin blue banner under the drawing of the castle (bearing the french text “Sans alcool”).
                Thus a “sin” Namadri probably didn’t commit, what takes some courage, considering the taste of this beer.

    • Mark R.
      Posted July 26, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      You’d think she would have explained that while lying about her clothing.

    • Erwin
      Posted July 27, 2017 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      I think this is the beer she is having.
      It is not Non Alcohol

      http://www.pepillo.ch/bier-online-bestellen/schweizer-bier-kaufen/feldschlosschen/premium-33cl-flasche-736.html

  3. Kevin
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I will add to those who should be vilified: All the self-ritious hijab wearing women who privately wish for Namdari’s undoing, if not, her beheading.

    Incubated by Islamic dogma, the security blanket that should be women coming to the aid of women like Namdari, has no chance to become reality in this world.

  4. Posted July 26, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    She may have to flee Iran when the chador hits the fan there. If so she should immigrate here and stay on the job; she’d fit right in at KPFA.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    As is written in the Qur’an, when in Rome Zurich, do as …

    Come out of the assimilation closet, Ms. Namdari.

  6. Randy schenck
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Most likely just a moment of slack, the beer was really not a beer and the head covering just blew off. And Putin does not launder his money at Trump Towers and bears don’t do it in the woods. It is all fake news.

    • Draken
      Posted July 26, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      The same gust of wind that blew off her headscarf also suddenly pushed an opened bottle of beer in her hand. True story!

      She should consult Ted Haggard about finding excuses for embarrassing revelations.

    • Rita
      Posted July 26, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      🙂

  7. Ken Phelps
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Wait a minute. Apologist for authoritarian religion turns out to be hypocrite in own life? That doesn’t seem right….

  8. DrBrydon
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Freedom is not having to live as a hypocrite to avoid punishment.

  9. Posted July 26, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Agree wholeheartedly with the last paragraph, stifling intolerance of freedoms that have no bearing on anything but a controlling misogynistic practice on an individual’s rights.

  10. beanfeast
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I am loathe to cut her any slack. Was she forced to become a chador wearing conservative television host or did she decide that it was a career path that she would be happy with? I’m sure there must have been other employment choices that didn’t require her to become a professional hypocrite. It is people such as her that lend support to the bearded imams, acting as role models to be pointed to in order to keep other women in their place.

    • marvol19
      Posted July 27, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Exactly

      She seems to have gone “above and beyond ” what is required of her, which to me strongly suggests she’s an opportunist and a hypocrite.

      Cutting her slack implies we should cut Trump’s toadies some slack too, they’re only thinking of their career in a hostile environment!

  11. Paul Britton
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I have been to Bahrain… On a Thursday evening, the friendship bridge over to Saudi Arabia gets very busy, with people going to Bahrain for weekend ‘breaks’.

    In the bars of the westernized hotels, I have witnessed Arab men, in full arab garb (Thobe, Ghutra and Egal), sitting at the bar, facing the entrance, with a glass of water on one side and a glass of beer on the other.

    If they saw an arab coming in they would pick up the water, until they were comfortable that the newcomer was doing the same as them…

    Hypocritical? You decide….

    • eric
      Posted July 26, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      I have little problem with that…unless you tell me that patron’s day job consists of going on TV and railing against the evils of drink. That would make them a hypocrite. And from what Jerry has described, that’s the sort of public/private behavior this reporter practices.

  12. somer
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps she should try marketing a line of Halal beer.

  13. eric
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    But I really feel sorry for her.

    I don’t. If she were a news announcer who had said little about the veil and not advertised herself as a conservative, then I *would*. Grudgingly assenting to the regime’s repressive dress policies in order to keep your job? Understandable. But going out of your way to claim you love and support those policies in order to get ahead, even while you ignore them in private? Not okay.

    It’s kind of like seeing a conservative anti-LGBT politician getting caught with his gay lover. There’s nothing wrong with a politician being gay per se. But it is hypocritical and not fine to demagogue against gay rights purely for political gain while having gay relationships in private.

    • kirbmarc
      Posted July 27, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      The difference is that in the US or in the UK a politician can be pro-LGBT without suffering negative consequences, so those who are anti-LGBT make a deliberate choice to do so in order to appeal to conservative religious voters.

      In Iran being against the veil will cost your job and likely your freedom.

      Yes, the news announcer praised her chador, but we don’t know whether she was basically forced to do it to dispel rumors about her personal life or whether it was a genuine attempt at social climbing through ideological purity.

      So while I understand your point I’m willing to suspend my judgment on the news announcer as a person. The illiberal muslim laws of Iran, and the hypocrisy they cause in people, are of course fair game.

  14. starskeptic
    Posted July 27, 2017 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    “…everyone has a camera with a cellphone…”
    So that’s what that annoying button on my camera is…

  15. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 27, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I feel you say it to Alexa (Amazon Echo), she replied that only Freddie Mercury can do that song justice.

  16. Mike
    Posted July 27, 2017 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Is she back at work?, because I don’t think the Mullahs would be pleased.

  17. jay
    Posted July 27, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    This is a bit different case, but reflects back on my comment in an earlier discussion here: never post stuff under your real name (which means that Facebook etc which demand real names, should be fully off the table).


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