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Death by stoning in Iran has also become a brutal abuse of power and a barbaric example of outright defiance of the International Declaration of Human Rights as well as most modern standards. Treatment of women in many islamic countries fall under this category of course, but that is another issue. The method of execution by stoning (usually for the crime of adultery) used in Iran involves burying a woman to her shoulders and then stoning her to death with rocks of a specified size. The intent behind the specification of rock size is to have the executioners not use stones that would not do enough damage nor to use larger ones which might kill or render the victim unconscious immediately, the implication of course being to inflict as much suffering as possible.




The face of the woman in a picture smuggled out of Iran in 1992 haunts me, and though I have searched, I have been unable to find her story. The story of a woman killed in the same Iranian town if Arak in 1994 has been reported on, and is one of the most horrific things I have possibly ever heard of. This woman (name unknown to me) was buried in preparation and her last request to have her husband and children sent away so as not to see her execution was denied. During the stoning, this woman managed to dig her way free, despite the fact that her eyes were gouged out, and began to run away. According to some reports, this method of escape ends the execution. This woman, however, was chased down and shot by a firing squad.

The more preferred method of death by hanging, in which the victim is lifted by a crane instead of the more well-known gallows method, has become much more common these days in Iran , and the latest girl awaiting this fate is a now 18-year-old known only by her first name, Nazanin. Her "crime" consisted of defending herself and her younger niece in 2005 from their would-be rapists on the streets. She used a knife which she carried for self-defense (this fact itself implies the state of fear in which girls and women are subjected to in this country, or at least in Tehran ) and one of the men later died of his wounds. Despite her plea of self-defense and defense of her "purity" in court, she was still condemned to death by hanging and currently awaits this fate. Despite Western petitions to save her, I doubt that her supporters will be able to sway the authorities in Prime Minister Ahmadenijad's rather mentally unstable and anti-Western regime.

My question remains, where on Earth is the outrage in the West over these two issues of sharia and shahada, both offfensive to the very core of our beliefs? If feminists forever trying to ferret out Margaret Atwood's fictional "Gilead" from her book A Handmaid's Tale in the Christian fundamentalists here that they deem such a threat, they should remove their blinders and look instead to Iran , to Afghanistan , to sharia-ruled lands where Ms. Atwood's world truly lives. Why is the focus on the Iranian executions found almost exclusively in the rather limited sphere of the "human rights" community. This community is not particularly a high-profile one, and almost completely ignored (as they tend to condemn as well as sharia many things found not at all offensive) by all but members of the far-left, at least in the US ?

We should all be speaking out and expressing our outrage at these examples of arrogance and atrocity. We shoud all be protesting the fates of Atefeh and Nazanin instead of having to search the internet for even a mention of them. Europe saves no breath in condemning the death penalty in the United States as applied to murderers, but speaks and demonstrates not at all for women killed for crimes of "sex" and "self-defense". The issue of sharia must be put on the table as something that we must express outrage, and the shahada must be recognized for what it is. At present, the most coverage the shahada has gotten in the West is its pronouncement by Antonio Banderas' muslim character in the film The 13th Warrior. The full import of the words deserve much more analysis and discourse in The Western World, especially in light of these words used as a chant in the ridiculous "cartoon riots".

My muslim opponent in my favorite restaurant can and will continue to rant and rave over cartoons along with his fellow muslims. Muslims can claim all they want that these cartoons cut to the heart of their religion and beliefs. We in The West must in turn discover not only the doctrine of al-taqiyya, but recognize that both sharia and shahada cut to the heart of our beliefs, both religious AND secular.

 

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