Comedian and actor Omid Djalili is campaigning for England’s football team to stand in solidarity with protestors against the Iranian regime, during their match against Iran in the World Cup today (21 November).
The star, who is of Iranian heritage, had posted a video on Twitter earlier this week urging players to make a hair-cutting gesture in support of the protests that have swept Iran since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, while in the custody of the country’s so-called morality police in September.
She was arrested for allegedly not wearing her hijab in accordance with Iran’s strict religious laws, with part of her hair exposed. Many women and girls around the world have been cutting their hair in an act of protest, with Djalili now urging the England team to get involved.
“My message to England players right now is you have a massive opportunity to do a very, very small gesture to make massive global impact,” he said in the video.
“Boys, when you score a goal, make this sign: Scrunch. Snip.” He gestured lifting up his hair and cutting it with scissors. “Do the sign and save a life.”
On Monday (21 November), during an interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Djalili said that players taking the knee – a symbol of protest against inequality – would not be enough.
“This is not a time for generic statements,” he said. “I made the video not to put pressure on them, they should only do it if they want to do it, but they seem to be a team who want to make a difference.
“I don’t want anything bad to happen to the England team... but all the Iranian fans are with the England team, and if they do make a statement like that, that sends a massive sign of support to the women in Iran. This is the first women and girls revolution in the history of mankind.”
Message to the @England football team at the #WorldCup for the game v Islamic Republic of Iran 🇮🇷 on Monday. We think it would be amazing if you did this. It would mean more than you could ever imagine. pic.twitter.com/SHtz8oB9IJ
— Omid Djalili (@omid9) November 19, 2022
He fiercely condemned the response of the Iranian authorities to the protests, saying: “The killing of children is a [military tactic] to stop protestors...
“They’re trying to quash an amazing, beautiful movement where they’ve had enough.”
Djalili added: “Let’s remember this girl died simply for showing her hair, which is why women all around the world have been cutting their hair in solidarity.”
“This is about supporting a massive, beautiful movement, and sorry, but it’s very British to say, ‘Should we make a political statement, should we not make a political statement? Let’s just do what we’ve been doing for the past two years [being complacent].’”
In the original video, Djalili called for the world to stop seeing Iran as a sovereign state. He said: “Iran is a terrorist state, suppressing women. They should have been thrown out of the World Cup.
“They break every Fifa statute against anti-discrimination. Even Iran is giving missiles and drones to Russia right now. People say the World Cup shouldn’t be political. Well, they banned Russia, didn’t they? They should have banned Iran.”