Headscarf Games

Rafia Zakaria in The Baffler:

IT WAS JUST THE KIND of cringe moment that makes you want to forswear cable news forever. A few days after the death of twenty-two-year-old Mahsa (Zhina) Amini in Tehran, celebrated CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour was slotted to interview Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, who was in New York City to make an address to the United Nations. At the appointed time of the conversation, Raisi was a no-show. According to Amanpour, an aide to the president then approached her and asked her to put on a headscarf out of respect and observance of the months of Muharram and Safar (sacred months in the Islamic calendar). Amanpour said that she refused, noting that she had never worn the hijab when interviewing his predecessor. Her refusal to wear the headscarf, she says, is why the Iranian president canceled the interview. “It’s an unprecedented request,” she stated on her broadcast on September 22.

More here.