Inhumane and unnecessary

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If you’ve been paying attention to the media this week you’ve probably seen one or two articles related to the planned stoning of an Iranian woman who has been convicted of adultery. Here’s a basic summary of how her “conviction” went:

“In May 2006, a criminal court in East Azerbaijan province found Ashtiani guilty of having had an “illicit relationship” with two men following the death of her husband.

But that September, during the trial of a man accused of murdering her husband, another court reopened an adultery case based on events that allegedly took place before her husband died, the BBC reported.

Despite retracting a confession she said she had been forced to make under duress, Ashtiani was convicted of “adultery while being married” and sentenced to death by stoning.

Ashtiani, a mother of two, denies the charges. She has been in prison since 2006 and has already been given 99 lashes. She has lost appeals for clemency.

Under Iran’s Islamic laws, adultery is the only capital offense punishable by stoning. A man is usually buried up to his waist, while a woman is buried up to her neck. Those carrying out the verdict then pelt the convict with stones until he or she dies.” (MSNBC)

Okay, first of all, this is horrendous. Most people around the world will probably agree with me. The article states that many people have been up-in-arms lately about the possibility of this woman being stoned to death. I, of course, am one of them and appalled as well. However, what I noticed upon my first reading of the article is that what this woman has already gone through should have made many people shudder in disgust.

She has already suffered several years in an Iranian prison (I can’t imagine that it’s very clean), been torn away from her children, forced  into giving a false confession, and whipped, yes WHIPPED, 99 times. I view stoning as a vile and inhumane thing to do, probably one of the things that most shows the barbaric nature of the Muslim faith and culture. But I find it unfortunate that it took to this point for this woman’s story to reach public knowledge.

A major side-effect of this idiotic process is the damage done to her children, who now have had to deal with the murder of their father and the inappropriate imprisonment of their mother. The son also witnessed his mother’s lashings at the age of 17. We can add psychological distress to the list of effects that Sharia Law has on everyone involved.

“She’s innocent, she’s been there for five years for doing nothing,” Sajad told the Guardian. He described the imminent execution as barbaric. “Imagining her, bound inside a deep hole in the ground, stoned to death, has been a nightmare for me and my sister for all these years.”

Why is this happening in modern times?

One thing that frustrates me at every turn is the misogyny that occurs in the Muslim culture. To me, and anyone else who has had their consciousness raised and made aware, women are no less equal to men, and to treat them simply as birthers and sub-human is wrong. What’s even worse is that the sexual repression in the Islamic culture is always channeled towards the women like it is their fault life sucks. They view the women as temptresses who would otherwise draw all men to temptation. Such is the reason for women’s’ requirement of the burka, to prevent them from “dressing inappropriately.” Because the men apparently have no self-control (raping that lead to “honor-killings” are also common in Muslim-led countries) they oppress women at every level of life.

What occurs within lands under Sharia Law is seldom witnessed or made public to outsiders. I certainly hope that these types of human travesties reach the public eye more often so that the world can put more pressure on these countries to abide by human decency, not Islamic oppression. I don’t want this woman stoned to death, imprisoned, removed from her children, chastised, OR whipped for a false charge. Especially if this charge is for something like adultery after the death of her husband. The media is portraying very little but the stoning, and it seems every article I read quickly notes what she has already gone through, but does so matter-of-factly while skipping over it. Hopefully the whole story will be known widespread and the world come together to prevent this woman’s barbaric death.

I like that the media has started covering this. However, if I may ask a few things of the media… PLEASE relate to your readers that things of this sort can only come to fruition when barbarism and religion are allowed to reside within governmental processes. I’m not sure why the religious foundation of these atrocities is never spoken of. All we get is  “Under Iran’s Islamic laws…”. Can the media please explain this in further detail for those who are not as well informed on Islamic society? This is what happens when a theocracy is in place; when religion determines “morality” and “law” regardless of how a-moral the outcome is.

Ask yourself, would something like this happen in a civilized country? Do we hear stories of this nature from Denmark or Norway (unless it’s from a Muslim or religious extremist)? Does a secular society allow human rights to be trampled on in such a way? No, only faith and religion have the power to destroy the progress of society in such a quick and simple way. Sarah Palin, I’m looking at you…

*As an American I have to say this with a bit of tongue-in-cheek since a large portion of my country’s citizens are ignorant and don’t approve of (or in fact fight against vehemently) gay marriage and universal health care. So to some Europeans, America probably looks just as ignorant as Iran in this situation. Sorry world, many of us are trying!

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6 Responses to “Inhumane and unnecessary”

  1. Inhumane and unnecessary…

    I found your entry interesting so I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  2. joechianakas Says:

    “Sarah Palin, I’m looking at you.” Nice.

    I find it hard to achieve a balance of respect for religious beliefs and the desire to fight ignorance with truth. I personally hate to stomp on any religion, including Islam, but when religion affects the public sphere, insults groups like women, homosexuals, or minorities, we have to speak up.

    I’m all for a person exploring spirituality and beliefs, but religion cannot be forced on other or allowed to shape our policy. The Palin types and her followers are a scary segment in our society too, and although they are not physically stoning people, they are certainly verbally and emotionally stoning people.

    I’m glad I saw your blog. Insightful work.

    • Joe, thanks for the feedback! I agree. I’m probably more militant in that I don’t “respect” faith, and consider it a disease (see my other post), but I do certainly respect people’s right to believe in what they want. That is, as long as it does not cause suffering or ignorance for others.

      Things like this potential stoning are so blatantly disgusting that it is difficult for me to NOT stand up and say something. I hope that with you and I and many others standing up for reason and truth, that the world will improve – even if it’s only a small bit at a time. 🙂

      I’ve added you to my blogroll as well. Have a great weekend!

      – Jay

  3. Just a quick note: the stoning has been lifted.

    Also, I take quick exception to your phrase “muslim culture.” No such beastie. Muslims are adherents to the theocratic slavery of islam and can come from very diverse cultures. Although the cultures can contain religious expressions, religious expressions do not define cultures. Although this is more along the lines of a quibble, it’s an important clarification: people can maintain their culture while rejecting religion. This is much more challenging in islamic countries that have codified sharia law into their legal system but its still an insertion and not a basis.

    Other than that quibble, I enjoyed your post and I suspect we are kindred spirits. Keep up the good fight.

    • QM, thanks for the feedback. You make a good point. I appreciate that while you mostly agree, you are not afraid to provide corrections and your reasoning for such thoughts.

      I suppose I did speak very generally and a bit out-of-scope when I used the term “culture.” As you pointed out, one can embrace culture while rejecting religion, much like some Jewish descendants do. Some will continue the family’s traditions and culture, but not for religious reasons.

      I think that one of the things that makes it difficult to separate dogma and society in the Islamic tradition is that apostasy is punishable by death. Since the goverment and religion are so intertwined in several Middle-Eastern countries, I would imagine that very few citizens of these countries would dare speak up against it.

      I’m happy to have the freedom of speech and I wish everyone had the same rights around the world. Of course, religion will never survive an onslaught of questions. Which is why most of them have some sort of “faith clause” or restrict questioning one’s Master. All religions fall apart when questioned and looked at with an open mind and reason. They just don’t hold any water… Only wishful-thinking. This was certainly a major part of my personal “awakening.”

      Thanks again for the comment. Have a good weekend!

      • You’re more than welcome… even if I can be a bit irritating at times with such quibbles.

        And you are absolutely right to single out islam for special criticism. It is antithetical to enlightenment values like freedom of speech and so on. It is also smothering to once proud cultures like Iran’s, the very seat of progressive thinking predating even the Greeks. I would love to see people reclaim their cultures from all kinds of religious and other tyrannical abuse, but I also know that religion – like the worst of thieves – steals everything it can and then claims them for itself… causing confusion of allegiances in those so ruled.

        I’m looking forward to popping by now that I have subscribed to your site.

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