Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the objectification of women as a "Zionist plot" designed to "destroy human continuity". He made the remarks on Mother's Day in Iran, which coincides with the birthday of Muhammed's daughter Hazrat Fatimah Zahra.
Yesterday (19 March) he sent a string of seven tweets, at times contradictory, paying tribute to Fatima Zahra while at the same time criticising Western attitudes towards women.
He first heralded Fatimah Zahra an "exemplary spouse and mother" that provided a "perfect role model for Muslim women".
He added that the role of the housewife and mother should not be demeaned because the acts of bearing and raising children into fully developed humans amounted to creating the "highest product in universe".
Khamenei criticised the West for promoting the concepts of "gender justice" and "gender equality" while neglecting to nurture women towards their full God-given capabilities.
In a seeming contradiction, he also asserted that women and men were equally well endowed with the faculties of "spiritual ascension," "leadership power" and the "ability to guide humanity".
The supreme leader was at his most confrontational when he took direct aim at the West for "designating women as goods and a means of pleasure", before adding that this was one of many "Zionist plots" coordinated to "destroy [the] human community".
According to al-Islam.org, Harzat Fatimah Zahra was the Prophet Muhammed's only daughter. She was born in 605AD by Muhammed's wife Khadija, who had two daughters from a previous marriage.
Fatimah had four children of her own and is regarded as a role model for Islamic girls and women around the world. She is widely venerated in Iran — so much so that the anniversary of her birth designates Mother's Day.
Khomeini's tweets in full (unedited) read: "On the occasion of birthday anniv. of Hazrat Fatima Zahra, a number of panegyrists on Prophet's Household met with Leader of Revolution.
"Hazrat Fatimah's character & conduct as a true leader & also an exemplary spouse & #mother provides a "perfect role model for Muslim women".
"With a grandeur & stature beyond human's understanding & imagination,yet one of Hazrat Zahra's roles was being a "mother, wife & housewife."
"Some unaware deceived people humiliate housewives, while it means raising humans & producing highest product in universe i.e. human being.
"Designating women as goods & means of pleasure in western world, most probably, is among Zionists' plots to destroy human community.
"Men & women are no different in some aspects like 'spiritual ascension,' 'leadership power' or 'ability to guide humanity;' [1/2]
"but they are different in aspects like "duties in handling life." An example of all of these aspects is Hazrat Zahra (SA). [2/2]
"In west, concepts like 'gender justice' or 'gender quality' are promoted while justice is realizing & nurturing capabilities God has gifted."