Iranian state television presenter and actress Azadeh Namdari is facing accusations of hypocrisy on social media after a video emerged showing her drinking beer and not wearing her hijab while on holiday in Switzerland.
According to the Independent, Namdari is known for her fierce insistence that Muslim women should wear the hijab. Hard-line conservative Iranian newspaper Vatan-e Emruz published a photo of her in a full hijab in 2014 under the headline: “Thank God, I wear the veil”.
The TV presenter has also been a keen proponent of the black chador – a large piece of cloth that covers women from head to toe and leaves only the face exposed. It has been extolled by conservatives for offering women the best protection.
According to the BBC, after the video went viral she offered an explanation for her bare-headedness in a video 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”.
Twitter user @merry_8_4 juxtaposed an image of the TV presenter in full hijab alongside two further photos of Namdari without a hijab and while drinking beer:
What she feeds us with versus what she feeds herself with!
And user @sisil4030 tweeted:
She does not have the right to encourage people to observe the rules that she herself does not observe.
A tweet from an account attributed to the pro-government cleric Abolfazl Najafi-Tehrani read:
The problem is not #Azadeh_Namdari or people like her. The problem is the ideology, culture and the system that forces individuals in society to have dual-behaviour for some reasons.
The Facebook page Iran Without Clerics addressed Namdari in a post and wrote:
We do not have any problem with you not wearing hijab or drinking beer. Our problem is that you … take the Iranian people for a fool!