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Backlash from dance fans as Iran looks to ban 'un-Islamic' Zumba classes

Zumba involves dance and aerobic movements to energetic music [Twiiter]

Date of publication: 13 June, 2017

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Iran's general sports federation has called for a ban on Zumba dance classes across the country over "prohibited" dance moves.
Iran's General Sports Federation called for the ban of "Zumba" dance classes across the country because it was contravening "Islamic ideology".

The federation penned a letter to the ministry of youth affairs and sports to ban the dance and aerobics exercise.

Zumba, which combines dancing to energetic music, has grown in popularity in recent years, including in Iran.

However, some conservatives in Iran frown upon the dance, which originates from Brazil.

"In light of activities like Zumba, dancing in any way is not legal (therefore) announce the prohibition of movements such as this," according to the state-run ISNA news agency.

A copy of the letter was also posted on Iran's sports ministry site on 7 June.

Ali Majdara, president of Iran Sport for All - a government sports federation - said that the aim of the ban was to promote only sports and activities that abide by Iran's Islamic laws.

"Please issue a regulation to ban some activities, such as Zumba, which include rhythmic motions and dance and are unlawful in any shape and title," the letter from the federation read.

The move caused backlash among Iranians who took to social media to voice their frustration, using the hashtag #Zumba.

"#Iran bans #Zumba from all gyms because it's "un-Islamic." When regime meddles in every aspect of personal life," one Twitter user said.

"#Iran officials banned #Zumba classes. Why? because it encourages ppl to dance and this is against 'our' cultural norms!," another tweeted.

"#Zumba for #women only clubs in #Iran has become a popular #sport in the past years, yet the latest news from Iran is a #government_ban," another user tweeted.

Iranian women have seen some tough restrictions placed on them when entering sports.

Earlier this year, an Iranian female bodybuilder was imprisoned for posting gym selfies showing her bare arms and biceps.

The woman has been accused of posting "un-Islamic" and "nude" images of herself on social media - breaking the Islamic Republic's strict rules on 'revealing' clothing.

Women in Iran are also banned from attending men's football matches in the country. Last year, eight women disguised themselves as men to go to a football match in Tehran, defying the ban.

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