Masih Alinejad, Iranian journalist & women’s rights activist, at EU Parliament, Sept. 6, 2016

I ask Catherine Ashton, Federica Mogherini—all of you female politicians around the world—to stand for your own dignity.

Because if our government comes to visit Europe, and you ask the female politician, “Remove your hijab,” they will protest. They are not going to say that, “This is the law, we have to respect the law,” or, “This is the culture and we have to respect the culture.”

So that is why I say that European female politicians are hypocrites.

Because they stand up with the French Muslim women, and condemn the burkini ban—because they think compulsion is bad—but when it happens to Iran, they just care about money.

And they go to my country, and they ignore millions of those women who send their photos to me and put themselves in danger to be heard.

And [the European politicians] keep their smile, and wearing hijab, and saying this is a “cultural issue”—which is wrong.

This is the most visible symbol of oppression, and we have to stand all together and bring this wall down.

(Masih Alinejad won the Women’s Rights Award at UN Watch‘s 2015 Geneva Summit for Human Rights & Democracy.)

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