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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Iran arrests six for teaching Zumba: media

The group was charged with dancing and failing to wear proper hijab

The group were allegedly teaching dance moves that included Zumba routines, seen here being practised at the Zumba Festival Dubai on January 23, 2016. Reem Mohammed / The National
The group were allegedly teaching dance moves that included Zumba routines, seen here being practised at the Zumba Festival Dubai on January 23, 2016. Reem Mohammed / The National

Four boys and two girls have been arrested in Iran for teaching "western" dance moves including Zumba routines, a local Revolutionary Guard commander said.

"The members of a network teaching and filming western dances have been identified and arrested," Hamid Damghani, commander of the Guard in the northeastern town of Sharhoud, was quoted as saying by the Jamejam Online website late on Tuesday.

"The team attracted boys and girls, taught them western dances and published their video clips on social media apps like Telegram and Instagram," he added.

"They were arrested by the Guards' intelligence forces while teaching and creating video clips … as they sought to change lifestyles and promote a lack of hijab."

Read more: British-Iranian woman detained over Tehran volleyball game released on bail

The group was charged with dancing and failing to wear proper hijab - Islamic regulations that require women to wear headscarves and ban revealing clothing in public.

Dancing is banned in Iran for women in front of men outside their immediate families, but in recent years Zumba and other dances have been banned even in women-only gyms — though the rules are widely flouted.

"The promotion and teaching of dancing in the name of sport in women's gyms is a serious issue," Mr Damghani said.

In 2014, seven young Iranians were arrested for dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy in a home-made video that went viral on the internet.

They were given suspended jail and lashing sentences.

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