ISA statement in solidarity with Homa Hoodfar

June 28, 2016

The International Sociological Association (ISA) stands in solidarity with prominent social scientist, Homa Hoodfar a professor of Iranian origin with Canadian and Irish nationalities who has been arrested by the Revolutionary Guard Corps of the Islamic Republic of Iran and detained in Iran's notorious Evin prison on Monday 6, June 2016. Her detention by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a clear violation of her right to academic freedom.

A professor of anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal since 1991, Prof. Hoodfar is an internationally renowned and widely published academician whose studies cover a wide range of issues related to gender and development, Muslim family law, Muslim dress code, refugees, informal economy, reproductive rights, public health, and women and gendered politics all of which are extremely influential for the development and enrichment of sociological scholarship on the Middle East.

Prof. Hoodfar traveled to Iran in February, 2016 to visit family and conduct an archival research in the Iranian parliamentary library for a historical book project. After having been interrogated for many times, she was scheduled to depart the country on March 10, but on March 9, the day before she was due to leave Iran the Revolutionary Guards officers went to her home and confiscated her passport, as well as her personal computer, cellular phone and other items. As it is stated in the report of Amnesty International from the next day until her arrest on 6 June, she was called repeatedly on her house phone by officials from the Revolutionary Guards and summoned for questioning. During these interrogations, in which she was not allowed to have a lawyer present, she was asked about her work and about the emails that the authorities had found in her computer. Her interrogators also asked her questions such as “are you a feminist?” and “what is feminism?”.

However, authorities have not specified the charges against Prof. Hoodfar, nor was she being allowed to see her lawyer or contact relatives after her arrest. At 65 years old, Prof. Hoodfar’s health is of great concern to both her family and international academic community, especially because she suffered a mild stroke last year and has another illness that needs regular medical attention and treatment.

ISA calls the Iranian authorities to release Prof. Hoodfar immediately and unconditionally as she is a prisoner of conscience, being arrested solely for the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression; and allow her to return home to continue her medical treatment and to carry out her academic responsibilities. Our Association's mandate is to promote research, publication, and teaching of sociology. In Statues of ISA, in Article 2, we set our objectives by stating that the goal of the Association is to advance sociological knowledge throughout the world. It puts forward “In its structure, the Association recognizes the aspirations of sociologists in all parts of the world and endeavours to support and strengthen the free development of sociology in cooperation with similar associations of social scientists (2.1) and in Article (2.2) recognizing the importance of being in close contact with all disciplines of social sciences to promote sociology it states that “To achieve these ends the Association shall support activities to a) secure and develop institutional and personal contacts between sociologists and other social scientists throughout the world” (2.2.a.); as ISA also adheres to the article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”