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October Spotlight: The Iranian Law Student Association

The Los Angeles area contains the largest concentration of Iranians outside of Iran, and Pepperdine Caruso Law has benefitted from a large number of Iranian-American students in our community. The Iranian Law Student Association (“ILSA”) is a thriving organization that seeks to make Iranian-American law students more aware of their heritage, and cognizant of their responsibilities as aspiring attorneys and citizens of the world. 

For ILSA that responsibility has meant bringing awareness to and action around the current protests led by Iranian women in Iran. ILSA states that, “any well-wishers of humanity and supporters of human rights should be acutely aware and deeply concerned at the increasing arbitrary arrests and executions by the Iranian government. The violation of human rights in Iran is worthy of condemnation by all, especially institutions that uphold the law and teach the law. “

ILSA notes that these arrests and executions come as a result of four decades of patriarchal oppression, marking a historic turning point for many Iranian women who are fed up with the country’s compulsory veiling laws that force all women to observe hijab and cover their hair. A huge tipping point in the start of the protest is the death of 22-year old Mahsa Amini who died while in custody by the Gasht-e Ershad, the country’s “morality police.” Amini was detained for violating Iran’s hijab law, which requires veiling for women and modest Islamic dress and many Iranians believe these “morality police” were responsible for Amini’s passing, which has led to increasing protests.

To ILSA and many others, the current uprising by Iranian women is a struggle for freedom of choice and deals with a central question of the law’s role in individual autonomy. In Iran, this looks like the choice not to comply with compulsory veiling laws. In other countries, this looks like the choice to observe hijab. This is an issue that undoubtedly has the world’s attention on a global scale, and one that ILSA encourages the Caruso Law community to engage with thoughtfully and critically as it impacts individuals across the world.