Beneath the Surface: How Censorship in Iranian Music Cultivates Identity
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When listening to music, Iranian’s do not tap their feet or dance; they do not smile or wave or give any indication that they are enjoying the music they are listening to because they are not allowed to. Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic, compared music to drugs that ruin the realm of seriousness that comes with Islamic culture. He neglected music’s cultural significance outside of the realm of religion, and banned the citizens of Iran from listening to music that provided them excitement. Controlling such personal reactions and behaviors required strict enforcement by the Cultural Revolution Headquarters established in 1981. On top of that, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance was established to control cultural production, making it very difficult to get music produced that did not fit the criteria established by the Islamic Republic.