Sunday, July 11, 2010

Small Victories: Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani

Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani will not be executed by stoning for adultery. She's an Iranian mother of two and was set to face stoning - any day now - after her 2006 conviction of adultery. Yes, folks, adultery. What a relief; all the petitions and global awareness raised by people and organizations to stand against death by stoning. Phew, what a relief! Right?

Wrong! Why is this wrong? Because Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani still faces the death penalty for adultery. And while anything that isn't stoning is a lot more a humane way to go, especially in terms of execution for wrongdoing...the death penalty? For adultery? Really?

I'm not saying that "adultery", in all of its usual heavily religious contexts, is not wrong. That isn't what I'm saying, but my opinion on adultery is not what's important. The two things that strike me as the major issues are: the obvious issue that has been a main stressor internationally is the cruel and unusual nature of stoning. and the other is the fact the law is based on the indoctrition of a specific religious text as a means to make people submit to this system.

For those of you who do not know at stoning consists of (as if the above image is not graphic enough) picture this: a person is buried in sand. If it is a man, they are buried to their waist; if a woman, she is buried to her chest area. And members of the crowd, the societal jury of your peers, pummel stones at you until you are bludgeoned to death. Literally, this is a stoning. This is a cruel and unusual punishment for any crime. Keep in mind, though, that I (and my few readers) are reading from an American perspective where "cruel and unusual" means that the punishment exceeds the severity of the crime. I'm not certain that cruel and unusual exists in Iran (and that is an honest statement; not my normal, everyday sarcasm and wit). However, I can think of few things that would make me think 'hmmm, you should be stoned for that. The fact that this form of punishment is allowed any where makes me sick to my stomach and confirms frustration with the lack of progress humanity has made. Nothing warrants that form of punishment.

The major issue for me, though, is the fact Iran, which is a country that bases it's legal code on sharia - the laws of god as interpreted by Islam - is a really troubling piece of this equation that is being overlooked. When will people learn that the marriage of politics and religion is one of the ultimate stains on any culture's progress? Thank goodness we're in America, where there is separation of church and state, right? Right?(that was my normal, everyday sarcasm.)

In a drive-by discussion on this situation with a friend of mine the other day, and explaining my issues with the situation, less my opinion on adultery, he hit me with the "moral behavior is not religious" bullet, even though he is a religious subscriber himself. But you know, I agree with that and that's the point that I attempt to hit believers with: moral behavior is not religious. However, don't ever say that if you've also decided that you don't "agree" with same sex marriage, a woman's right to choose, or understand that this issue is an issue where there is an intentional relationship between the Iranian judicial system and the religion of the overwhelming majority. And don't hit me with that "proud to be an American" shit when adultery is punishable by criminal law in some US states as well. And while this is not even necessarily as much about the death penalty as it is the imbalance in "crime" and punishment, I'll just say that we also execute people in the US. Your ideas sound progressive enough aloud; the US has separation of church and state on paper. But still, in a lot of social aspects, we do not. #justsayin

Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani's life is ending because she committed adultery with two men while being married. And this is a human being. She is a mother of two. Set to be killed for having two extra marital affairs while her husband was alive; and your thoughts on whether or not adultery is right are meaningless because religious law has already overruled Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani's right to live and her children's right to have a mother. And I truly hope that the advocates against her being stoned, including myself, will continue speaking out about the fact that she is being executed any day now. P l e a s e, do your part and increase awareness at the very least.

Be Righteous.


  1. Is image an actual stoning in progress? Who is the person there? it's awful, please have the dignity of labeling that image - people in it date and history of it

  2. This is so terrible but remember men also can get killed by being stoned to death too. One German man had an pre-marital affair with a lovely Persian women and both were killed in Iran. He was killed because he did not follow Muslim law. Iran allows Muslim men to have several wives. Actually the agreement of a man with a woman is enough in itself to allow her to be a temporary wife or lover to him but only him alone (under Muslim law). He on the other hand is allowed to have many lovers and is also free to divorce a wife at whim by just uttering a one syllable word a few times to her which is considered enough. The wife-lover is unable to divorce the Muslim man though- it must be his decision. This form of marriage is referred to as a temporary marriage and is common in forms of prositition. For further details please consider the book- Law of Desire: Temporary Marriage in Shi'I Iran by Shahla Haeri.

    If Iranian women were allowed the same rights as Muslim men they would not get stoned to death for having a relationship outside of marriage, especially if they were permitted to have temporary marriages as men do while married. This is a difficult issue that Muslim women must face and it is sexist reaffirming gender inequality. Women should have the same rights as men! Did the man that this woman had an affair with get stoned to death or was he able to walk away from the situation and live his life again. This is a missing link to this story that I would like to know more about. Why would a man put a woman in this situation for sex alone or did he promise her that he would take her away from her husband one day and so she continued to see him to wait for that day. I am sure she was not able to divorce her husband without his consent and that paternity rights are often not granted to women (Not without my Daughter)- these are other issues that should be looked at that exist in Iran- it is not about stoning alone but about human rights and inequalities of gender in Muslim society that have existed for long time.

  3. Iran and other Muslim Societies need to allow women equal rights to men and also allow religious and personal freedom. The Shah of Iran before the revolution was harmonious and tolerant, not fanatic and fundamental with his views or religion. Iran was once a beautiful country- of myth, magic and history. It was once the heart of Sufism allowing people to thrive and prosper as human beings... not inhibiting them to be puppets or robots and controlled as slaves to an oppressive and exploitive government- this is patriarchy and this is also Westernization/colonization- Islam has fallen a victim to its own prey.

  4. Agreed! And thank you for commenting.

    You know - I'm of the opinion that a government cannot be governed by a religious division. It's a failing factor in modern government because of the lack of adaptation and realism. It isn't about agreeing with religious beliefs, but rather allowing a society to be run by these outdated beliefs that don't reflect the best interests of ALL people.

  5. Uncivilised, draconian, barbarian, vulgar, ill-bred animals. Misogynistic arseholes of the highest order. They are not human to perform this kind of despicable act in a modern world. If I had my way I would drop the biggest bomb known to man on their whole, miserable way of life. Is this what we are fighting wars against. So be it... bring it on you mother fuckers.

  6. What u know about Islamic Law huh? Don't judge from ur perspective but try to open up with Islamic people itself. This punishment is good enough to be remember, so that anyone will not doing the same crime against. And yes, adultery in Muslim religious is a big crime.

  7. As far as international pressure is concerned, it's been successful insofar as this particular case is concerned, however many more men and women will undergo this form of execution. Change can only be elicited from within ones own community, it cannot be forced onto another. This is evident in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan where regime change has been forced onto them. The wolves are baying at our heels and the minute the coalition stops policing these countries the old regime will rumble on in. The French had their revolution, you Americans had your civil war, suffragettes died for the right to vote, Iran has to challenge these practices in their own time. No amount of posturing will ever make a difference. Awareness within the western world is a good start, but try not to "enlighten" the "savages" as it were. That's been every single Colonial powers downfall. Change has to start within Iran. Leave well alone.

  8. Such is the nature of any form of punishment: retributive, restorative, your explanation - preventative. It's ridiculous to me that one can not see this as a cruel form of punishment -- REGARDLESS of the crime.

  9. Yet, who is even to say that she committed adultery? It is the men who are pushing for her execution that are saying that is what she did - rather, the definition of adultery as stated in Iranian law. Iran is so far behind the rest of the world, an empire that was once proud to say that it built the foundations of modern democracy... who would have thought? It is not so much the issue of religion, Islam is a beautiful faith, it is the issue of the men who wield Islam as an oppressive tool against their own people - shameful. What Father, holy or otherwise, would agree to see his daughter lashed 99 times? Remember Soraya M.? Her father couldn't even bear to strike her face with the stone he threw. Now another poor woman subjected to medieval ignorance - has civilization not advanced over the last 2000 years??? Iran needs a wake up call and the people there who want change need the support of the rest of the world, our voices to advocate to them. There is a BIG difference between advocacy and crying.

  10. Very well said, I could not have put it so eloquently- myth, magic and history indeed. How could such a beautiful culture could be so corrupted by fanatism?

  11. It there evidence of adulty. It takes two to tango what happens to the man? We around the world disagree with the laws of Iran but do little to stop the spread of its doctrine in our own country. Any relegious belief that accepts these laws in only wanting to control the people. There is no love or repect.

  12. This is directed to the individual Prince of EAST! OMG ( OH MY GOD ) just in case you do not understand. You are the most ignorant animal ( I refuse to call you human) that I have ever heard of! You are disgusting and your countries are extremely lacking behind the current world , you must wake up!
    She is a woman a mother and a HUMAN BEING!!! Her children need her. And it is not a crime for any person wether male and or female to commit adultery wake the hell up!! We are in the 2oth century. It is all the ignorant men in your countries that call for this punishment, shame on all of you!! you will all pay dearly for this.
    WAKE UP, everyone is having sex with everyone......married or not men and men women and women, its no BIG and it is certainly NOT A CRIME.
    YOU PEOPLE DISGUST ME. I pray everyday for her safety and well being.
    May you all ROT IN HELL!

  13. What is bullshit they doing?
    Because of that your people not development .
    Why lady can't do this can't do that?
    But at the same time man can go to fuck with many lady & dirnk also.
    What is meanning of human?

  14. Ahan! that is why the rate of rape, incest, paedophilia etc are sky-high in your damned country, The Bloody New World, America. Your sex-offenders keep coming back and rape and kill innocent victims. If you had been raped as a kid, or your wife, mother, sister or daughter gets raped, just tell me how will you feel about the perpetrator?

    The stoning ensures no one, especially people like Joseph Fritzl, do not see another dawn in this world but go rot in hell :)

    Peace to you!

    P.S. Before considering what is ruthless and what is not, try asking what is more cruel, a rape of a young girl, incest...... or saving the "precious life" of a bastard who would keep on doing this abominable abhorring act.

  15. thats not correct , its forbiden for men to drink and adultery , they also pushed if they did it
    peace for you