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Saharlar sees fundamentalist fervor in action:

She was a cute girl with long blond hair and blue eyes. She had braided her hair and her bangs made her look younger. She was playing with her hair and humming a song to her doll. As her mom searched for something in her purse, the lady next to her struck up a conversation:

Lady: What grade are you in?
Girl: Fourth grade.
Lady: Well, I see you have reached puberty. Why, then, haven't you covered your head with a scarf?

I was stunned for a moment by her question. The girl whispered something that I didn't catch.

The stranger raised her voice. Whether she wanted to get the crowd's attention or scare the little girl, I wouldn't know:

Lady: What about your prayers. Tell me, do you offer prayers?

The little girl gave her a baffled look, and before she could produce an answer, the bus came to a halt and the lady got off. The girl retreated into her mom's chador and stared at the road. She didn't sing afterward, nor did she play with her hair.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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