Is a public flogging in the cards for Iranian actress Leila Hatami? How an innocent kiss sparked outrage of absurd proportions...
So Iranian actress Leila Hatami might be facing public flogging for an innocuous cheek kiss. In case you missed out on last week's whole Cannes kiss hoopla, the Iranian actress was caught on camera kissing the Cannes film festival president, Gilles Jacob, on the cheek; an act that raised holy wrath with authorities in Tehran, who deemed her actions "inappropriate" and an affront to the chastity of Islam.
Oh, and did we mention that the gentlemen in question is 83 years old? As soon as the visual of the kiss was public news, Iranian authorities flipped the proverbial shit, with Hossein Noushabadi, the Deputy Culture Minister, saying that "those who attend international events should take heed of the credibility and chastity of Iranians, so that a bad image of Iranian women will not be demonstrated to the world."
Hatami apologised publicly to her country for her actions, adding that she'd tried to shake his hand but he still moved in for the kiss (that sly old dog!) and that clearly he'd just forgotten the rules, likely due to his advanced age. And Jacob even weighed in, trying to downplay the situation and saying that it was a Western custom and didn’t need all this controversy.
However despite this, an uber-conservative Islamic group in Iran, Hizbullah Students, are not convinced and have taken the whole issue a step further, demanding that Hatami be publicly flogged for her actions. They’ve filed an official complaint with Iran's judiciary to that effect, saying that for her "sinful act of kissing a strange man in public," she should be legally reprimanded. The petition also read that according to "article 638 of Islamic Criminal Justice" this includes a prison sentence, but the group seem to want to make an example of her, and "demand the punishment of flogging for her as stipulated by the law". We have yet to see if this petition will yield any results, but if this isn't extremism, we don’t know what is.