CBS NEWS – As Iran’s military warns it is prepared to step in and quash a wave of anti-government protests, a new trend has emerged in Iran aimed squarely at embarrassing and belittling the Islamic republic’s ruling elite.
Videos showing young protesters running past and knocking the turbans off the heads of unsuspecting Islamic clerics in public have swept across the internet in recent weeks.
The “turban tossing” trend has spread with the street protests still ongoing.
The unrest — the most significant challenge to Iran’s hardline Islamic theocracy ever — was sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16, after she was arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly failing to adhere to the country’s strict dress code for women, which requires them to cover their hair in public.
Social media has been flooded with videos of young Iranians running up behind clerics on the streets and smacking their turbans off their heads.
As the protests in Iran continue, there's a trend of clerical "turban throwing" #عمامه_پرانی
Iranians are uploading videos of themselves knocking off or stealing a cleric's turban and (usually) running away.
— Holly Dagres (@hdagres) November 7, 2022
The practice has become so widespread that many clerics have been seen wearing covers over their turbans in a bid to keep them firmly in place, but videos show even some anchored turbans flying off at the hands of the often-masked protesters.
Holly Dagres, a senior fellow and Iran analyst at the Atlantic Council, shared one video compiling more than a dozen of the clips, set to the background music of a popular dissident Iranian rapper who is currently in prison.
While most of the turban toppling involves quick sneak attacks that merely leave the clerics grappling for their headgear, in some cases the religious figures can be seen confronted by small crowds, and even being hit or slapped.
A person using the alias “Sir Antonio Su Padre” sardonically announced in a Tuesday tweet the establishment of the “Iran Turban Throwing Federation” — a body purportedly aimed at regulating and rating the turban-flipping activities.
A Twitter account set up by the “Federation” published dozens of videos of turbans flying off heads and assigned scores to the “contestants” based on their maneuverability, tossing techniques, and the distances flown by the headwear … READ MORE.