Islam has never believed in nor sanctioned equality, human rights, or civil rights from its inception in the seventh century to this day. This is the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, while her lover received twenty lashes. Initially her sentence was commuted to hanging after international protests. She awaited her fate, sharing cell number four with 25 other women–all awaiting execution.
Court records claim that her crime was adultery and merited the death penalty, but her testimony gives another reason. She claimed that she was attempting to find some happiness in a loveless marriage.
Initially, Sakineh was given 99 lashes for her so-called crime. The unmarried man, known as Nasser, was not treated as harshly, and the man who accompanied Sakineh was treated relatively lightly. Nasser received 40 lashes. The second man, who had accompanied Sakineh for safety sake, received 20. The Iranian theocracy was not satisfied. They demanded blood.
When Sakineh’s husband was found dead, investigators responded to a complaint filed by his children. After haphazardly reviewing the evidence they concluded that Sakineh’s lover, Nasser, killed the father. Concluding that there was an illicit alliance between Sakineh and Nasser, the investigators attention was quickly redirected to the children’s mother.
It swiftly was the consensus of the investigators that Sakineh had aided and abetted her lover. She supposedly had given her husband a sedative so that Nasser could inject him with poison.
When the children realized the gravity of the situation, they chose to protect their mother. Sajjad and Farideh forgave their mother for acting as an accessory to the murder, and forgave Nassar for murdering their father. Their forgiveness, according to Islamic law, reduced the crime’s sentence.
Nassar’s penalty was reduced from hanging to ten years imprisonment. Although Sakineh was originally convicted only of being an accessory to murder, her sentence was also reduced to ten years–as if she had participated in the murder.
The reduced sentences enraged Iran’s clerical elite. Zealous fundamentalist Shari’a judges presiding Iran pushed for a reevaluation of the extramarital relationship. Succeeding in obtaining a rehearing of the case, the theocrats accused Sakineh of “zena” — extramarital sex.
Extramarital sex carries the death penalty–by stoning–a verdict that they were determined to render when they passed judgment. All evidence points to the fact that the judges had already determined that the mother was guilty of the murder in order to have a lover (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,711975,00.html#ref=nlint).
Still a problem lingered. World opinion. The most troublesome point in this situation is that the accused was coerced into testifying against herself. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, told British reporters from the Guardian after the trial that she had been tortured for no less than two days and threatened repeatedly if she did not tell the court what it demanded it be told (http://iranhr.net/spip.php?article1807).
Since the fall of the shah and with it the end of democracy in Persia came a transmogrification of justice and law. With the return of the exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1978 and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, by referendum on April 1, 1979, and approved a new theocratic constitution whereby Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country in December 1979. From that day on, the Iranian government intensified its campaign of torture, arbitrary arrests, and detentions against political critics since 2004 (Human Rights Watch (2004), Like the Dead in Their Coffins: Torture, Detention, and the Crushing of Dissent in Iran (73 page booklet); cf. http://www.iranfocus.com/en/?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=5), increasing the number of public executions (especially the hanging of teenage homosexuals; http://www.iranfocus.com/en/?option=com_content&task=view&id=4403) to a near-daily routine, and enshrining torture as a commandment of their god in much the same way as the Roman Catholic church used the Spanish Inquisition to extract confessions and ultimate exterminate those opposed to its rule and officials.
One of the most unusual innovations installed by the theocracy of Iran, quite different from the more sane days of the Kingdom of Iran (Pahlavi dynasty) under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi) came with the redefinition of social culture, customs, and tolerance. Before the imams and ayatollahs took control, two members of the same gender commonly held hands or kissed as they had for centuries–it was seen as a greeting, not as a sexual exchange, but like Pope Pius IX, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was fixated on homosexuality, most likely to hide his own latent tendencies–for he forged out of redactions verses against homosexuality (citing Qur’an 4:16 and 27:55, which is contradicted by 52:24, 56:17, 76:19) and adultery (17:2-3, 32, and 25:63-71) but stoning is only found in the hadith. Both actions became capital offences and dealt with severely by the theocrats–without any justification for their decrees in the Qur’an, in the same barbaric manner as Pius IX attempted to justify his own phobias.
Today, in Iran, homosexuality is illegal, and those charged with making love (having homosexual sex) love-making are given a choice of four death-styles: being hanged, stoned, halved by a sword, or dropped from the highest perch.
According to Article 152 of the new Constitution of the Republic of Iran, if two men who are not related by blood are discovered naked under one cover without good reason, both will be punished at a judge’s discretion. Gay teenagers (Article 144) are also punished at a judge’s discretion. Rubbing one’s penis between the thighs of another without penetration (tafheed) is to be punished by 100 lashes for each offender. This act, known to the English-speaking world as ‘frottage,’ is punishable by death if the ‘offender’ is a non-Muslim, for the Shari’a court considers any physical relationship between a Muslim and non-Muslim to be an attempt on the part of the non-Muslim to convert the Muslim, which is apostacy.
If frottage is repeated three separate times and penalty-lashes have failed to stop such repetitions, upon the fourth “offense” both men will be put to death. According to Article 156, a person who repents and confesses his gay behavior before it has been seen by at least four witnesses, he may be pardoned. Even kissing ‘with lust’ (Article 155) is forbidden. At the most, a kiss is to be short and lips barely touching.
Once these draconian laws of the theocracy were in place (which were hailed with special prayers of rejoicing and thanksgiving in USA evangelical churches who had begun a campaign to wipe out homosexuality from all nations) a series of gay teenagers were executed. How many died cruel deaths from 1979 to 2005 still remains secreted in the vaults of the secret police of the Revolutionary Guard and its volunteer moral police (المطوعين which means “volunteers” who are prevalent throughout the Middle East, even in Israel; see: http://www.zeenews.com/news581438.html; cf. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1498027.stm). They were hung only after suffering repeated and numerous brutal tortures that included whipping, being stoned, being cut, and so forth. In one case that drew international attention, before their public execution, two gay teenagers were held in prison for 14 months and severely beaten with 228 lashes. The length of their detention suggests that they committed the so-called offenses more than a year earlier, when they were possibly around the age of 16. (http://direland.typepad.com/direland/2005/07/iran_executes_2.html). It is not uncommon for Iran’s clergy to demand the hanging of 14 year-old (or younger) homosexuals and there is one case of two nine-year-old boys being hanged for sleeping naked in the same bed (http://188.8.131.52/search/srpcache?ei=UTF-8&p=homosexuals+hanged+in+Iran&u=http://cc.bingj.com/cache.aspx?q=homosexuals+hanged+in+Iran&d=4819060798981997&mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US&w=6ebd262,3f647055&icp=1&.intl=us&sig=P0ic4TkChe1WkoJwG4GSQg— Cp. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/19/AR2006071902061.html).
At least 402 people within the last year (2009), reportedly including several dozen women on death row, have been stoned to death in Iran in the name of Allah the Merciful based on Shari’a law. Since the protests against the contested reelection of President Ahmadinejad in June 2009 (which sparked street protests leading to dozens of deaths and countless arrests; see: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,699868,00.html), hundreds of critics of the Iranian government (http://iranhr.net/spip.php?article1668) and members of the opposition face prison and death by various gruesome means, but the most common being hanging (http://iranhr.net/spip.php?article1782). Iran’s theocrats now openly do what ever they believe is necessary to silence dissent and block out any unfavorable reporting or suspected sympathies for the people (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,711975,00.html#ref=nlint).
Few inside or outside of Iran see any of these trials as fair and just–there are no legitimate court proceedings:
محمود امیری مقدم سخنگوی سازمان حقوق بشر ایران در این رابطه گفت: ما این جنایات را شدیدا محکوم میکنیم. همگی این افراد در دادگاههای نمایشی محاکمه شده بودند و در زندان تحت شکنجه قرار داشتند. وی افزود: ما از سازمان ملل، اتحادیه اروپا و جامعه بین المللی میخواهیم که اعدام های امروز را محکوم کنند. هم اکنون احتمال اعدام زندانیان سیاسی دیگری از جمله زینب جلالیان، رمضان احمد، فرهاد چالش، رستم ارکیا، فصیح یاسمنی، رشید آخ کندی و حسین خزری، در زندانهای حکومت ایران وجود دارد و جامعه بین المللی باید از این اعدامها جلوگیری کند. Translation: “Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of Iran Human Rights condemned today’s executions and said: “None of the five executed today had fair trials [the trials lasted less than seven minutes; http://iranhr.net/spip.php?article242] and they had been subjected to torture while in the prison”. He continued: “We ask the UN, EU and the international community to condemn these execution”. He added: “Several other political prisoners are at imminent danger of execution and the world community should let that happen.” Human Rights lawyers face not only contempt of court charges, but frequently their spouses and children are arrested and imprisoned. They are denied food and drink and sanitation is not even considered. Judges who are feared to be impartial are dismissed from courts and stalwart fundamentalists are placed on the bench (http://iranhr.net/spip.php?article242).
Evangelical fundamentalists within Islam (some of whom claim Muhammad to be the Son of God) attempt to justify stoning of adulteresses as being sanctioned in the Qur’an–even though it started with the ancient “Jews” who, according to legend, Muhammad spoke with before his epiphany, and from whose writings he began to fashion the Qur’an. The Torah and other Jewish writings justified stoning for eighteen crimes:
While stoning is permitted by Islamic Sharia Law in the Sunni and Shi’a sects, the Qur’an does not mention the practice specifically as a punishment for any crime. The only mention of adultery and punishment is Sura 24:2 which prescribes “lashing” for adultery: “100 stripes”. Like the Bible which has been too frequently redacted by too many scholars each attempting to carve out a new theology, much like Zondervan Publishers have done with their woefully inadequate New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, the Qur’an has also been added to and transmogrified beginning with the second Caliph of Islam, Umar who cited it as being a true Arabic text of the narrative in the Sahih of Bukhari. The key words are wa anzala alayhil-kitaaba fakaana mimmaa anzalallaahu aayaatur-rajm, meaning literally, “And He sent down to him the Scripture (viz. the Qur’an), and part of what Allah sent down (therein) was the verse of stoning”. Umar added: “Verily stoning in the book of God is a penalty laid on married men and women who commit adultery, if proof stands or pregnancy is clear or confession is made” (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasulullah, p.684).
Islamic Sharia Law is, allegedly, based on the Qur’an, the hadith, and the biography of Mohammed (http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/stoning.htm). Stoning is well-established in the Sunni hadith of Sahih of Bukhari, where it is recorded that Mohammed ordered it over 34 times as a punishment (http://www.ibnamin.com/num_hadith.htm [in Arabic]; cf. http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/muslim/017.smt.html.)
There is support for stoning in the hadith:
- Ibn Shihab reported that a man in the time of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) acknowledged having committed adultery and confessed it four times. The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) then ordered and he was stoned. ” (Muwatta Imam Malik, p.350).
- Zirr ibn Hubaish reported: “Ubayy ibn Ka’b said to me, ‘What is the extent of Suratul-Ahzab?’ I said, ‘Seventy, or seventy-three verses’. He said, ‘Yet it used to be equal to Suratul-Baqarah and in it we recited the verse of stoning’. I said, ‘And what is the verse of stoning’? He replied, ‘The fornicators among the married men (ash-shaikh) and married women (ash-shaikhah), stone them as an exemplary punishment from Allah, and Allah is Mighty and Wise.”‘ (As-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur’an, p.524).
The hadith records quite clearly state, however, that Umar claimed that the verse had been revealed to Muhammad and that he himself would have considered writing it into Allah’s revealed scripture were it not that some people would have claimed that he was adding to it. He is recorded as saying:
- “See that you do not forget the verse about stoning and say: We do not find it in the Book of Allah; the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) had ordered stoning and we too have done so, after him. By the Lord Who holds possession of my life, if people should not accuse me of adding to the Book of Allah, I would have this transcribed therein: Ash-shaikhu wash-shaikhatu ithaa zanayaa faarjumuu humaa. We have read this verse”. (Muwatta Imam Malik, p.352).
Stoning continues in Afghanistan (by the Taliban who also execute women presumed to be adulteresses by flogging them to death; see: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article574389.ece), Somalia (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7694397.stm; it is common in Somalia that Shari’a courts sentence girls who are thirteen-years-old or younger who have engaged consensually or nonconsentually to sex to be stoned to death: http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/somalia-girl-stoned-was-child-13-20081031; in most cases the woman is buried in the earth up to her neck, then men stone her in front of as many people as possible), Iran, and other Moslem controlled or dominated nations. Stoning is supported by at least fifty percent of all religious fundamentalists (Muslim and Christian), with the highest percentage living in Indonesia (http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/163989.php).
Nations that have introduced or permit Shari’a law to function equal to the nation’s civil law find stoning and equal barbarities on the rise. More than a dozen Nigerian Muslims have been sentenced to death by stoning for sexual offences ranging from adultery to homosexuality since the Sharia legal system was introduced in 2000. Stoning, with and without legal proceedings have been reported in Sudan and Saudi Arabia: http://www.ishr.org/index.php?id=857. In October, 2008, a girl, Aisho Ibrahim Dhuhulow, was buried up to her neck at a football stadium, then stoned to death in front of more than 1,000 people although she begged for her life and pleaded she did not what Shari’a. While radical Muslim insurgents claimed she pleaded guilty to adultery (under torture), the actual transcripts detail that she had been gang-raped by three men (http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/somalia-girl-stoned-was-child-13-20081031).
While spokesmen for the Iranian Judiciary claim that stoning has stopped, evidence shows the opposite. Following the disputed elections of Ahmadinejad, there were reports of judges handing down stoning sentences in 2006 and 2007, and 2010. The difference was marked as it was the penalty not only for adultery but also for political opposition, apostasy and other “crimes against Allah and His Prophet”–none which had existed before Persia was transmogrified into the theocracy of Iran.