Calling the arrest of Kurdish teacher Zara Mohammadi in Iran a political measure against Kurdish identity, KJK called for a struggle against cultural occupation.

The Education Committee of the Community of Women of Kurdistan (Komalên Jinên Kurdistanê, KJK) released a statement condemning the arrest of Zara Mohammadi in Iran as an illegal and political decision against the Kurdish language, identity and existence. The Kurdish teacher and co-founder of the cultural association Nûjîn was arrested a week ago to serve a five-year prison sentence in Sine (Sanandaj).

The KJK statement on the arrest of the 29-year-old Kurdish woman pointed out that education is a universal right, saying; “Teacher Zara Mohammadi is an expert in her own language. Her arrest because of her Kurdish language teaching shows that the Iranian regime is not democratising and that the people of Iran are being denied the right to mother tongue education.”

The KJK Education Committee appealed in particular to Kurdish women and youth to continue the struggle for their mother tongue in Iran. It noted that the same applies to Turkey, where the AKP/MHP government is trying to turn the youth into mindless robots who no longer question anything. In this context, the KJK referred to the suicide of the medical student Enes Kara, who could no longer bear the daily indoctrination in a dormitory of the Islamic fundamentalist order.

“The fascist AKP regime wants to install a society hostile to society, deprived of the right to education. Kurds must resist this cultural occupation and create awareness of the model of democratic modernity put forward by Abdullah Ocalan,” the KJK said.

Background: Kurdish language teaching as a breach of national security

Zara Mohammadi has a master’s degree in geopolitics and is the co-founder and director of the Nûjîn Cultural Association, which promotes civil society and educational initiatives in Sine and the surrounding area. In May 2019, she was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and transferred to an intelligence-run prison. Previously, she taught Kurdish to children in villages near Sine.

In July 2020, an Iranian Revolutionary Court sentenced Zara Mohammadi to ten years in prison for “forming a group against national security”. On appeal in February last year, the original sentence was reduced to five years and Mohammadi was subsequently released on bail. But despite a detailed justification for an appeal, the judges of the Supreme Court rejected the request for a review of the sentence.

Numerous appeals for the lifting of Mohammadi’s sentence, including an initiative by more than ninety intellectuals from various countries, whose signatories include the US linguist Noam Chomsky, Kurdish social theorist Abbas Vali and Turkish sociologist Ismail Beşikçi, and which also calls for an end to the criminalisation of Kurdish and all other non-Persian languages, have also been ignored by the Iranian regime and its judiciary, as have calls from Amnesty International and the United Nations.