“Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.” — Ayatollah Khomeini
“Iranians sentenced to 91 lashes for Pharrell ‘Happy’ video,” by Oliver Duggan, the Telegraph, September 18, 2014 (thanks to all who sent this in):
The six Iranian singers who were arrested for appearing in a viral video dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” have been sentenced to six months in prison and 91 lashes.
The group became famous in May when their music video for the hit song circulated on YouTube, racking up more than 150,000 views before attracting the attention of Iranian authorities.
It featured three men and three unveiled women singing and dancing along to the four minute song in the street and rooftops of Tehran, mimicking the style of Pharrell’s official video.
Authorities arrested the group for contravening Iran’s strict vulgarity laws, which prohibit public displays of dancing, and paraded the six on state television, forcing them to express remorse for their behaviour.
The Islamic Republic condemned the video as a “vulgar clip which hurt public chastity” and in a trial on Wednesday sentenced the participants to a suspended sentence of six months in prison.
The director of the video was handed a suspended sentence of one year, while the whole group was told they would receive 91 lashes each.
“A suspended sentence becomes null and void after a certain period of time,” their lawyer, Farshid Rofougaran, told Iran Wire.
“When it’s a suspended sentence, the verdict is not carried out, but if during this period a similar offense is committed, then the accused is subject to legal punishment and the suspended sentence will then be carried out as well.”
Speaking shortly after the group’s initial arrest, the brother of one of the video’s star told The Telegraph that their confessions on state television were “outrageous”.
Siavash Taravati, who lives in the US, said: “The IRIB’s (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) action in showing the “confession” of my sister and her friends (…) is just outrageous.
“Apparently they first arrest people without any charge or civil right to defend themselves, then interrogate them and then make them confess and finally broadcast their show.”
Pharrell Williams responded to Iran’s actions on his Twitter account in May, saying: “It’s beyond sad these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness.”