Iran’s Archipelago

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Over the last few weeks, the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the woman sentenced to death by stoning for allegedly having illicit relationships, turned the international community’s attention once again to the gross human rights violations in Iran. The facts of the case, that of a 43-year-old woman who already served five years in prison and received 99 lashes, now sentenced to stoning solely based on the judges’ intuition and no evidence, dragged this hard-line regime back into the spotlight; not for its dismissal of international sanctions, its harsh rhetoric against the West or Israel, or its elusive way of continuing with its nuclear weapons agenda, but for its brutal treatment against its own people.

Sakineh’s case is just a narrow glimpse into Iran’s Islamic government practices and use of Sharia, or Islamic law. Its harsh and intolerant stipulations leave little room for lenience, particularly when it comes to transgressions concerning marriage and sexuality. Many of the laws are extremely primitive and disproportionate, yet 70 million Iranians living in the 21st century are at the mercy of this legal system. Women and non-Muslims suffer the worst consequences under these laws.

Based on Sharia law, the worth of a woman is half that of a man; that is only in punitive damages, or blood money. In court, the worth of a woman is nothing. She cannot testify. She cannot serve as a witness. A young girl can be married off at the age of 9, although in marriage, a woman, in most cases, cannot initiate a divorce. Even when her husband files, she can never have custody of her children; nor will she receive any alimony. Likewise, when a father leaves his children inheritance, Islamic law demands that the share of a son be double that of a daughter. Even when a father insists on dividing his assets equally, an Islamic court will rule in favor of the son after his father’s death.

Sharia law is based on both the Koran, the sacred book of the Islamic faith, and on Sunna, the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad. Sharia law delineates life for a Muslim, including laws about marriage, sexuality, divorce, inheritance and criminal law. There are five crimes for which punishment is specifically outlined: unlawful sexual intercourse, meaning sexual relations outside of marriage, false accusation of unlawful sexual intercourse, wine drinking, usually including all alcohol consumption, theft, and highway robbery. The punishments for these crimes are listed as flogging, stoning, amputation, exile, or execution. Judges can choose from a wide array of consequences from less severe to the extremely violent, depending on the specifics of the case.

Sakineh’s case began in 2006 when she was convicted and sentenced to prison for having an affair with two men. She was pressured into confessing to the illicit relationships and received 99 lashes. A year later, her case was reopened and out of a panel of five judges, three sentenced her to death by stoning. In morality cases, Sharia law allows judges to make a decision based on “Judge’s Knowledge,” meaning a judge can go along with what he believes is right in absence of any evidence. And just like that, Sakineh was sentenced to death by stoning after already serving a grueling sentence, receiving lashes and spending all those years away from her two children.

What may be more tragic than the case of Sakineh is that there are so many other just like her who don’t get an international campaign to champion their causes, a Facebook page to create awareness about her case, or numerous online petitions signed by celebrities and others demanding that she be freed. In most cases involving alleged adultery, children are turned against their mothers. In this respect, Sakineh was fortunate to have children who are open-minded and determined to save their mother. Likewise, she was fortunate to have a renowned human rights attorney volunteer to take on her case. Most women on death row do not have representation nor do they become international icons of the human rights abuses in Iran. They are silently and brutally killed; without evidence and without a voice. Last year alone, 388 Iranians were killed, making Iran second in the world, only to China, in the highest death penalty rate.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/garyrumain Gary Rumain

    What a great religion – NOT!

  • AntiOnan

    What is the fuss?
    Standard Sharia law & typical of the ideology that is Islam.

    What did you expect? Mercy? Charity? Humanity?Fairness?Honesty?

    To expect any better from ANY Islamic government is only to
    demonstrate absolute stupidity and historical ignorance.
    It is akin to wondering what the noise is after you ignite a fuse
    in a bomb.

    Talk to an Egyptian Copt or an Iraqi Assyrian.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/ObamaYoMoma ObamaYoMoma

      I’m not so sure that all the people of Iran are against Sharia, as the majority of them are Muslims, and since Islam is a religion of submission in which Muslims must submit to the will of Allah, and Sharia in effect is the divine will of Allah, I’m not so convinced that all the Iranian people are against Sharia, as if they are then that would mean that they aren’t Muslims. Indeed, they may hate the current regime, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t devout Muslims and that they hate Sharia. After all, they call their revolution the green revolution in celebration of green being the favorite color of Muhammad. Hence, it doesn’t sound to me like they aren’t devout Muslims.

      • SAM000

        I'm sorry to tell you that YOU ARE WRONG;
        And I'm Iranian, and the regime has killed half of my familly.

        You know that all the political executions are colored "ISLAMIC" by the Mullahs.
        They say that the one who is against us, is against GOD.

        You know that the suprem leader or AYATOLLAH claim to be the WILL OF GOD on the earth?!!

        We have more than 120,000 of martyres, they were executed all to be anti-Islamic REGIME.

        The major SLOGAN of the last year riots was "DEATH TO THE ROOTS OF THE ISLAMIC SUPREM LEADERSHIP".

        we believe on the separation of the church and power.

        This article is right and well bassed in your country because your democrats are backing the mullahs against the Iranians.

        What you can do?!!, you can do too much, you can say to your OBAMA's Administration SHAME ON YOU. this is the minimum you can do.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/ObamaYoMoma ObamaYoMoma

          As for as Obama goes, he is incompetent. The ruling Mullahs through the IRGC are responsible for killing American troops with impunity in Iraq and Afghanistan and as for as I’m concerned, that is an act of war and more than enough justification for us acting to eradicate the Iranian regime.

          Anyway, I support eradicating the regime and their nuclear weapons program for the reasons I cited above and also because a nuclear-armed Iran cannot be tolerated. However, I would never support such an operation only to liberate the Iranian people, because that would be an immoral and improper use of our troops, as our troops lives should only be put at risk for the defense of this country and to protect the lives of the American people. However, if the Iranian people were able to win their freedom from the ruling Mullahs in the process, then that would be a fortuitous side effect.

          Moreover, the last thing I would support is the US becoming involved in pursuing another fantasy based nation-building mission in another Muslim country trying to win the hearts and minds of Muslims who are obligated per their religion to hate our kafir infidels guts no matter what, because I know how useless that is.

          With respect to Iranians in general, you are only one voice out of many, and it’s hard for me to believe that most Iranians reject their religion. I can understand them rejecting the current regime, but that is an entirely different thing. Nevertheless, I would advocate supporting the people currently opposing the regime, and I would support it because it is in our national interest to do so. However, at the same time, I would not try to delude myself into thinking that the Iranian people are like freedom loving Americans.

          • SAM000

            We were more than 100,000 at 26th June in a rally in France to support the Resistance, and the Resistance is not Grenn mouvement, the leaders of the green mouvement are the other wing of the same Islamic regime and we do not like them, and they are faded.

            We are fighting for a non-nuclear Iran, who should respect the international rules and should respect the human rights.

            John Bolton was in our Rally and supports Iranian Resistance and it's agenda.

            We don't want your money
            we don't want your army to fight for us.
            We want you to stop your Government to appease the mullahs.

            We are able to uproot the Mullahs.

            Once Iran becomes free of the Mullahs, you will see that HAMAS, Hezbollah, Al-Qaida, OSAMA, and all kind of Islamic WORMS and terrorists will be evaporated in less than 24 hours, BUT YOUR IMMORAL LEFTIES WILL REMAIN ALWAYS, i'm afraid.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/ObamaYoMoma ObamaYoMoma

            Once Iran becomes free of the Mullahs, you will see that HAMAS, Hezbollah, Al-Qaida, OSAMA, and all kind of Islamic WORMS and terrorists will be evaporated in less than 24 hours, BUT YOUR IMMORAL LEFTIES WILL REMAIN ALWAYS, i'm afraid.

            Amen!

  • rom

    Does any of you guys watch the iranian state-run "Press-TV" It always makes me angry when i hear them complain about "human rights abuses in the west".It is just a joke when the mouthpiece of such a dreadful regime accuses the west of not respecting the rights of muslims in Europe and the US. Their hateful daily slander against Israel is almost unbearable. This news-station (actually it is a propaganda-station) is disgusting and regime that sponsors it is disgusting as well……rom
    PS.: and yet fontpagemag sometimes agreed to participate in live discussions with them……rr

    • SAM000

      You are right, PRESS TV is the Mullah's TV on English language, this is the most disguesting TV, we hate it, too

  • Mike

    SAM000,

    Unfortunately, the problem concerning President Obama's silence on the abominable human rights conditions in Iran typifies not only the attitudes of American Leftists, but the attitudes of Leftists throughout the world. Ironically, in their self-serving attempts to feel morally superior about themselves and their ilk, they actively seek to appease a regime responsible for the oppression of millions of Muslims in the name of cultural and/or religious sensitivity. The more radical of these "culturally sensitive" Leftists have gone so far as to defend the legitimacy of the regime, the results of last year's electoral charade and the brutal crackdown on the members and leaders of the Green Movement in the aftermath of the "elections", because it would supposedly be "anti-Muslim" to criticize the regime. Then there are the so-called "anti-Zionist" Leftists who would back the regime even if it began eating babies in the streets as long as it continued to support the genocidal aspirations of Hamas and Hizb'Allah.

    The ugly reality is that the Leftist Internationale, which presents itself as the "liberal" champions of human rights, are actually the direct or de facto allies of a regime that is responsible for brutally depriving the Iranian people of their human rights for decades. As long as these fools occupy positions of power within our governments, the media, academia, etc., the plight of the Iranian people will continue to get swept under the rug in the name of cultural sensitivity and relativism. This is but one of the many reasons why we need to start running these "elites" out of power in November.

    • Peter E. Coleman

      Leftists love autocratic Tribal Society's.

      Multiculturalism works on all aspects of Society(s). Separate but Equal writ large. It is nothing more than a vehicle to pigeon hole any group, sub-group, race…into a minority. Rendering them to sanctification or vilification as needed.

      Can anyone think of a better way to pass off their racism than to blend it in with all the rest of their dislikes?

      The root problem with Multiculturalism is that it breeds hypocrites faster than Rabbits reproduce. While the breeding is rampant, the American Public has not shown the desire for Rabbit stew.

  • SAM000

    Yes Mike;

    We observe that the lefties, the Socialists, the Communusts, and also the GREEN PARTIES of the free world are the Ideological alies of the MULLAHS.

    Human rights for the lefts has no meanings, in Europe all the lefts support the Green Mouvement which is derived from the Mullahs Regime, the Green mouvement in Iran is vanished, because the Iranians want to change the whole system, Iran is not an Islamic Nation, we don't care who is what, we don't want any religion on power.

    with the incoming revolution we will bury the Islamic power for ever.

    The Mullahs know that they will be exterminated, no power in the world can save them.

    We know that they have invested in the EU and American companies, they have sent their famillies to US and EU.

    Last year several thousands of them were immigrated to US and CANADA, with the fortune that they have stollen they find these countries very WELCOMING.

    My friend in canada says that, CANADA do not touched by the property crisis, because these people paye too much money to buy the houses.

    • Mike

      SAM000,

      It is disturbing in the extreme to hear that thieves associated with the regime are moving to the US and Canada, because most Americans certainly do NOT welcome their presence or their ill-begotten wealth in our country.

      I look forward to the day your people finally overthrow the kleptocratic fascists ruling your country. Despite the roaring silence of the Obama Administration, rest assured that the vast majority of Americans support you and your cause. It's extremely frustrating that we can't do more to assist you.

  • sam000

    Mike;
    my reply to your post was deleted 6 hours ago