Iran supreme leader uses Aly Raisman to promote the hijab

Photo Credit: Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Iran supreme leader Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei posted a short video on his Twitter account earlier this week discussing the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and Islam’s proposal to resolve it.

The video starts out with a girl delivering a statement. In it, she states the following.

“Realizing that you are a survivor of sexual abuse if really hard to put into words.”

That girl is two-time Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman.

Here is Khamenei’s video.

Raisman, who won six medals, including three gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is one of the many people who have accused 55-year-old disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State physician Larry Nassar of sexual assault.

The 24-year-old Needham, Massachusetts native has undoubtedly been one of the most vocal critics if not the most vocal critic of the people and institutions that protected, defended and enabled Nassar for more than 20 years while he got away with his predatory behavior, including but not limited to USA Gymnastics, the United States Olympic Committee and Michigan State University.

Nassar, meanwhile, is set to spend the rest of his life in prison as one of the worst child sexual predators if not the worst sexual predator in history. He was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison back in December on three child pornography charges by U.S. District Judge Janet Neff.

In January, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced Nassar to between 40 and 175 years in state prison on seven sexual assault charges following a seven-day sentencing hearing in Ingham County, Michigan during which 169 victim impact statements were delivered in front of Nassar in court.

Of those 169 victim impact statements, 156 were delivered by people who have accused Nassar of sexual assault and the other 13 were delivered on the behalves of those who have accused him of sexual assault.

Raisman is one of Nassar’s accusers who delivered her victim impact statement during this sentencing hearing, and her statement was a scathing statement that got worldwide attention almost immediately. It was from this statement that Khamenei took his clip of Raisman for his video, which includes other small clips from this sentencing hearing.

In February, Judge Janice Cunningham sentenced Nassar between an additional 40 and 125 more years in state prison on three more sexual assault charges following a three-day sentencing hearing in Eaton County, Michigan during which 65 victim impact statements were delivered in front of Nassar in court.

In June, Nassar was charged with six counts of second-degree sexual assault of a child in stemming from the Károlyi Ranch investigation in Texas, but he was not issued any additional prison time as a result of these charges.

Nassar has been accused of sexually assaulting more than 330 individuals, many of whom female gymnasts, under the guise of medical treatment for more than two decades. In addition to Raisman, among those who have accused Nassar of sexual assault are Olympic champion gymnasts Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Madison KocianMcKayla MaroneyKyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber.

The irony of Khamenei using Raisman in his video is the fact that he is using her and her scathing testimony against Nassar to promote the use of the hijab, a head covering worn in public by some Muslim women in the presence of any male outside of their immediate family. It usually covers the head and chest.

What’s ironic about this is the fact that Raisman has been extremely vocal against victim shaming in the wake of the Nassar scandal. She has made very clear that just because a woman is wearing a certain outfit does not mean that she is “asking for it”.

The fact that Khamenei is using Raisman to promote the hijab goes against pretty much everything she stands for.


-Asher Fair