Masih Alinejad - 2009
11 September 1976
Ghomikola, Babol, Iran
|Residence||Brooklyn, New York City|
|Education||Oxford Brookes University|
|Occupation||Journalist and writer|
Masoumeh "Masih" Alinejad-Ghomi (Persian: مسیح علینژاد, born 11 September 1976 in Ghomikola, Babol) is an Iranian journalist and writer. Alinejad currently works as a presenter/producer at VOA Persian Service, a reporter on popular satirical TV show OnTen, a correspondent for Radio Farda, a frequent contributor to Manoto television, and a contributing editor to IranWire.
Alinejad is well known for her criticism of Iranian authorities. She now lives in exile in the New York City, and has won several awards including a human rights award from UN Watch's 2015 Geneva Summit for Human Rights, the Omid Journalism Award from the Mehdi Semsar Foundation and a "Highly Commended" AIB Media Excellence Award.
Alijenad was born as Masoumeh Alinejad but uses the first name "Masih" (anointed or Messiah) which is the title of Jesus of Nazareth in Islam and Christianity. Alinejad was politically active from a young age and was arrested as an activist for producing leaflets critical of the Government in 1994. Alinejad began her career in journalism in 2001 with Hambastegi daily and then worked for Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA). Papers including Shargh, Bahar, Vaghaye.Ettefaghiye, Ham-Mihan and Etemad Melli have also published her articles. During the sixth and seventh parliament, Alinejad was the parliamentary reporter. In 2005 she wrote an article that showed a considerable sum of money was given to MPs as a New Year bonus. The article generated lots of controversy and led to her dismissal from the parliament.
In 2008 she wrote a highly controversial article in Etemad Melli daily, called ‘Song of the Dolphins’ where she compared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s behaviour to the behaviour of dolphin trainers to dolphins. She wrote that the impoverished people who gathered around Ahmadinejad in his provincial visits to give him letters are similar to hungry dolphins that make sounds and perform entertaining acts to grab a morsel of food from their trainer. Some people regarded the article as very offensive towards the president and the people and eventually Mehdi Karroubi the director of the paper had to apologise for the article. Time Magazine published an article in this regard on 7 May 2008 titled ‘Jesus’ vs. Ahmadinejad.
In the summer of 2009, during her stay in the United States, Alinejad tried very hard to have an interview with Barack Obama; however, she was refused the interview although she was granted the visa based on having an interview with Obama. Her visa expired and she had to return to England. While in the United States, she participated in some of Iranian protests and delivered a speech in one on 25 July 2009 in San Francisco where she said, addressing the government authorities of Iran, “We have trembled for thirty years, now it is your turn to tremble.” She was interviewed by VOA, which was shown together with parts of the videos she had made, called ‘A Storm of Fresh Air.’ In 2010 she and a group of Iranian writers and intellectuals established ‘IranNeda’ foundation. After the presidential election in Iran in 2009, she published a novel called ‘A Green Date’.
My Stealthy Freedom
In 2014, Alinejad launched My Stealthy Freedom (also known as Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women), a Facebook page that invites Iranian women to post pictures of themselves without a hijab. The page quickly attracted international attention and has garnered hundreds of thousands of likes.
In 2015 the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, which is run by UN Watch, gave her its women's rights award for "giving a voice to the voiceless and stirring the conscience of humanity to support the struggle of Iranian women for basic human rights, freedom and equality."
Alinejad has said she is not opposed to the hijab, but believes it should be a matter of personal choice. In Iran, women who appear in public without a hijab risk being arrested.
Women's chess games controversy
In 2016, Alinejad launched a boycott campaign against the 2016 women's chess world championship, to be held in February 2017 in Tehran, Iran.The campaign was incited by Nazi Paikidze, a former Russian champion chess player who had moved and switched teams to the US. She boycotted the event for she wasn't willing to wear a loose scarf, based on the rules in Iran. Alinejad ran a widespread media campaign, with help and support from figures such as Garry Kasparov and such organisations as UANI and People's Mujahedin of Iran. She co-wrote an op-ed in Washington Post with Asra Nomani, a Trump supporter and right-wing critic of Islam.
The boycott drew strong criticism from Iranian feminists and female chess players toward. Most critics argued that the boycott was counter-productive and harmed the very Iranian women who had long fought for permission to do professional sports from the regime. Others found aspects of White Saviorism in the campaign's language and framing. . 
She has published three books in Persian:
- Tahasson - which describes the political turmoil/challenges created when the ‘Sixth Iranian Parliament’ went on strike.
- Taje-e-Khar (The Crown of Thorn) - a Novel and that is now being translated into English. Which refers to the passion of the Christ and the crown of thorns placed on his head by the Romans.
- I am Free - which deals with women's issues in Iran, published in Germany because of the banning by the Islamic Culture and Guidance Ministry in Iran.
- "How Masih Alinejad is paying the price for confronting Iran’s leaders | November 2007 | New Internationalist". Newint.org. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
- Dehghan, Saeed Kamali (12 May 2014). "Iranian women post pictures of themselves without hijabs on Facebook". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
- Dehghan, Saeed Kamali (24 February 2015). "Iranian woman wins rights award for hijab campaign". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2015.