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July 9th, 2010
12:05 PM ET

Quran doesn't call for stoning, experts insist

International outcry - and the pleas of a devoted son - seem to have saved an Iranian woman from being stoned to death for adultery.

But while Sakineh Mohammedie Ashitani has been granted a reprieve, she is not the only woman sentenced to be stoned for adultery in Iran. There have been at least six sentences carried out since 2006, says Ann Harrison, an Iran expert at Amnesty International in London.

Adultery is the only crime that carries such a penalty in Iranian law, she said.

Only a handful of countries have laws calling for stoning, and Iran is the only one that carries out executions that way, Amnesty International records suggest.

That is because Islam doesn't really want the punishment to be carried out, says Ziba Mir-Hosseini, an Iranian-born campaigner against the practice.

"Stoning is not a Quranic punishment, it is Islamic jurisprudence. It happened later," says Mir-Hosseini, an expert on Iranian family law at London's School of Oriental and African Studies. "The punishment for any kind of sexual relations (outside of marriage) in the Quran is 100 lashes," she says.

Stoning is based on sayings from the Prophet Mohammed, known collectively as the hadith, says Mohammed Ali Musawi, a research fellow at the Quilliam Foundation, which describes itself as an "anti-extremist think tank."

Under the letter of Islamic law, it's nearly impossible to prove adultery, he says.

"How you prove adultery or fornication is to have four male witnesses - or two women for every male equivalent - all of them known to be upright, with no questions about their moral character, who witnessed the actual act of intercourse between the male and the female," he says.

"Basically, in normal life, this is next to impossible, to have four people testify that in the same place, at the same time, they saw the act of penetration," he argues.

False testimony can itself be punished with whipping, he says, because "it is such a severe sin."

"As you can imagine, if people were following these laws as they are stated, there would be next to no stonings," he says.

Even if someone confesses to serious sexual impropriety, they should be sent away three times to reconsider their confessions, he says, and only punished if they have admitted it four times, he adds.

But Iranian law is different, Mir-Hosseini says.

"In the case of this woman and other cases, the standard is 'the judge's knowledge,'" she says - in other words, whether the judges believe adultery has been committed.

She sees stoning as a way of putting pressure on women, she says, particularly in provincial areas.

"So far there have been no sentences of stoning in Tehran, only in the provinces. It happens when the judge has a grudge against the woman," she argues, although she notes that only the Iranian Ministry of Justice has full records of how many stonings there have been, and where.

Men, too, can be stoned for adultery in Iran, she says.

The practice was banned under the secularizing Iranian shahs of the early 20th century, she says, then reinstated after the Islamic revolution of 1979.

"After the revolution, one of the first things the clerics wanted to do was put aside the 1920 secular legal code," which was based on French law, she explains.

"In 1982, the parliament called for Islamic punishments," she says. There was some resistance from senior clerics, but the founder of the revolution, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, intervened to get it passed.

Stoning remained law in the updated 1992 penal code, she says, but in the first draft of a 2007 revision, it wasn't there.

"After the intervention of (hard-line President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, it was restored," she says.

That new legal code has not yet been approved, she says.

It's not clear who will win the battle over the code working its way through the system now, she says, but it does include a potentially face-saving way to keep stoning on the books without having to carry it out.

"There is a provision that, in cases where stoning causes harm to Islam, it can be substituted with other punishments," she says.

She thinks it's no accident that people are being stoned these days, amid political unrest in Iran.

"It has become a political matter," she contends. "Whenever there is a dispute between traditionalists and reformers in the judiciary," stonings increase.

"Stoning is one of those issues that has really (been problematic) for the Islamic republic because it is not accepted by society, including the judiciary," she claims. But there continue to be stonings, she says, because "like anywhere else, you have hardliners. You have radicals."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Iran • Islam • Violence

soundoff (594 Responses)
  1. Reid

    I hope you're not implying that Christianity or Judaism are better ways to go, because-funny story-they condone the stoning of your own family members! Read Deuteronomy Chapter 13:

    If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • Leslie B.

      That's obviously the Old Testament, and Jesus didn't hold to that, so I hope you aren't equating that with Christianity.

      July 9, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
    • dajackg

      Jesus DID hold to that: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." Matthew 5:17.

      July 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • Nathan Sayers Photography

      Leslie, the Old Testament is in fact Christian, and does not exist the same way in the Hebrew Bible, (Tanakh) or in the Koran. It counts, or it wouldn't be there. That's your religion, get to know it better - you don't get to cherry pick the nice parts.

      July 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • lorne

      When was the last time, christians or jews stoned a woman for adultery?

      July 9, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
    • Bobbie

      Reid, your point is completely moot. You may as well delete your comment. Why? Deuteronomy is in the OLD Testament, not the NEW Testament. Why does that matter? Because in the NEW Testament a completely different law is given to us because Jesus died for our sins. That introduced grace so that if we screw up we can be forgiven by God because Jesus paid for our sins by dying on the cross. It's not a license to sin or do bad things, but it does tell us that we WILL screw up in life and that God still loves us if we do.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
    • Bobbie

      Nathan, it's not about cherry picking the nice parts. It's about actually reading parts of the Bible in context instead of just throwing a single verse out there with nothing to back it up. That's what the media does to make political candidates look bad. They take 5 words from a 10 minute conversation and it gets blown out of proportion to make someone look bad. How about you read the entire Bible (Nathan AND Reid) before you condemn it, that way YOU can "get to know" the "religion" of Christianity.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  2. Chris

    The old Testament/Tora and the Koran basically are putting forward the same ideas. Even the new testament indicated stoning as legitimate in adultery, remember Jesus saying "ye who are without sin may cast the first stone". So dont talk about Islams sickness without bringing up our own.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • Margie

      Chris, Jesus did not literally mean to cast a stone. He was referring to the fact that none of us is without sin and, therefore, should not cast stones.

      July 9, 2010 at 1:37 pm |
    • Phineas

      Margie, you really ought to re-read the passage you're citing. Christ was about to witness a stoning, literally. It was not an abstract remark.

      July 9, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • Mary

      Phineas, I rememebr that story, i saw it on TV, then didn't a stone coming flying from the hand of his mother?

      July 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
    • Bobbie

      Chris, you said it exactly but missed the entire point... Jesus said "He who is without sin cast the first stone." NOBODY is without sin except Him. Obviously he was saying that stoning was not an acceptable punishment for Christians to carry out. Seriously, did you really miss that? Sounds to me you are just looking for a way to bash Christianity.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
  3. Excuse me

    but I think 1st place goes to the Bible

    July 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
    • Excuse me

      what happened to the comment i was replied to? i think CNN censored it.

      July 9, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
      • Yup

        people don't like what you say so they click "Report abuse"

        July 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  4. AnneS

    If Iran wishes to present itself to the Islamic world as an example of Islamic law done correctly, they are failing on all counts. To be done correctly, the law must be followed based on right tempered with the mercy and humility that is the basis of all Abrahamic religions.

    The central government of Iran and all of the other nations that wish to be known as obedient to Islam should publicly denounce this obvious injection of politics and personal extremism and demand appropriate justice. The 3 judges that sentenced this woman should be denounced for failing both the law and Islam.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  5. Rstar

    It takes 2 to commit adultery, where is the guy? Why isnt he in jail? Isnt 100 lashes enough punishment? In Islam, to accuse someone of adultery u need 4 witnesses, In her case nobody witnessed her. but have charges against her. Doesnt make sense.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • LilRdvet@

      Welcome to the Middle East...where it's easy to hate, persecute and kill women on a whim...

      July 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • Shoos

      It's called corruption.

      July 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  6. K

    Ok, Fred Phelps, we get it you don't like Islam.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  7. Billy Squire

    I've got word from the Easter Bunny that he hates you, and so does the Tooth Fairy. Oh yeah, and my mom.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Guy

      And Santa doesn't love me.

      July 9, 2010 at 1:42 pm |
  8. K

    Still waiting for the latest issue of the "Bill Times", I hear it is an excellent news source.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    There are a lot of issues about Islamic law.....and the sense of it.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  10. Jeremy

    If adultery was commited, it was done with another person. Was this other person also prosecuted and convicted?
    Since it was probably a man (if the act was actually committed, remember she 'confessed' after 90 lashes) would he be punished by stoning?

    July 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
    • Noah

      Jeremy the punishment is the same for both parties involved. Here is the direct quote from the Quran "The woman and the man guilty of fornication flog each of them with a hundred stripes and let a party of believers witness their punishment." Surah 24 Al Nur, verse 2. I've read a number of comments posted here and most are untrue. Anyone here who truly wanted to know the truth would go and look instead of just saying something the

      July 9, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
    • Noah

      Jeremy the punishment is the same for both parties involved. Here is the direct quote from the Quran "The woman and the man guilty of fornication flog each of them with a hundred stripes and let a party of believers witness their punishment." Surah 24 Al Nur, verse 2. I've read a number of comments posted here and most are untrue. Anyone here who truly wanted to know the truth would go and look instead of just saying something they may have heard from someone else.

      July 9, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
    • Dan

      Noah: Despite what the Qur'an says, there is no evidence that the man she was accused of sleeping with went to trial. Nice try, though. It's the same old boys-will-be-boys mentality that is tolerated all over the world. Adulterous men are studs, the women are whores.

      July 9, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
    • Muddy

      Very nice question indeed, but people only provided twisted answer that the guy should be punished too. But does ever guy gets punished for the adultery, a girl gets punished for it, no one gives any answer.
      At the time of Mohammad, a woman came to him and confessed that she committed adultery and became pregnant. He let her go and asked her to come back after delivering the baby. Once the baby was delivered, he let her go again to come again after the breast feeding period is completed. She came back again 2 years later and she was stoned to death. He never got any intuition this time, but he used the same Jewish laws to do that.

      Anyways, I am an x-muslim myself and I am ridiculed by many things practiced in organized religions. The source of story fail to find the guy who impregnated her to get her punished. And I am pretty sure in all three religions women had been more victims of this brutal punishment because they got pregnant then their male lovers.

      July 10, 2010 at 1:28 am |
    • Noah

      Dan my point is the jurisprudence of Iran has nothing to do with the teachings of Islam. But the majority of posters here seem to think so. Just because it's a middle eastern country it doesn't mean they abide by the laws of Islam. It's no different then here in the US. This is a Christian country but God is completely absent from it. And the majority of people who claim to be Christians here in the US do not live a life that God would approve of. As you can see the sickness is world wide.

      July 10, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  11. Brother John of Dallas

    "False testimony can itself be punished with whipping..."

    What should happen is if you falsely accuse someone of a crime, then you should be given the same sentence as that crime would have brought no your victim.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • M

      And what if the false testimony is meant ot protect your child?

      July 9, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  12. SR

    It's ok, it's ok, the Quran doesn't call for stoning. It only calls for 100 lashes!

    July 9, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • blondegeisha

      Now thats what I call a break.

      July 9, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
    • linda

      100 lashes can be with a light string or a whip, it is not stated at what level the lashes come. When a child is given lashes for not praying I am quite sure the parent would not open the skin with a whip, the punishment would fit the crime. Also it is better to suffer in the world for your crimes than take the punishment in the next.

      July 9, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
    • Meme

      Hmm... Given the option... I'll take my chances and defer all punishment for crimes and sins to the hearafter.

      July 9, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
    • paul

      Linda, If you feel the need to be punished in this world, that's fine, for you. You can be flogged with a string, or a whip, or a velvet flogger, I don't care. But these women are not saying they need to be buried up to the shoulders and killed with stones, big enough to hurt, but not so big as to kill quickly. The women who are shot in the head by islamic courts for the crime of reading don't seem to be very happy to be avoiding punishment in the next world. I don't see anyone asking their parents to kill them for the family honor.

      Why is it always someone else who has to be purified by brutality?

      July 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  13. AyeAyeCapn

    I agree with your analysis, but ask that you reverse your order.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  14. Dianne Foster

    I once discussed this with a Pakistani lawyer, who had defended a man accused of an honor killing. I told him that St. Augustine, a Berber, had spoken out against this practice in his homeland, because he argued that the woman belonged not to her family, but to God. During the days of Temple in Jerusalem where (although Rome was in charge) things were pretty traditional for the Jews, they too stoned adulterous women. So much for the good old days. But in one of the Gospels, Christ comes to her aid and writes something on the ground beside her. He says that he among those who have taken up stones should cast the first one. Remarkably, nobody feels that holy at the moment. I suppose he was taking a chance there. Perhaps it was only a metaphor and not a real event. But it does show that the practice in the Mideast is widespread and of long duration, across many cultures. The definition of adultery and shame being brought on the family is basically whatever the "injured party" says it is. To be fair, our own juries have exonerated men who killed wives in a jealous rage when finding them "in flagrante delicto". This surprised the Pakistani lawyer – that Americans had also gotten away with this. Maybe I should not have aired this dirty laundry. But I am with Christ and St. Augustine on the matter.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
    • TOM

      And the gnomes and the unicorns too!

      July 9, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
    • tinyprof

      Thank you for providing the only intelligent post on this message board. CNN is very negligent about policing the boards for ignorant, provocative, and racist comments that have little or nothing to do with the subject. The rest of these posts are useless.

      July 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  15. Eric

    The sadih books are not the quran

    July 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
    • Meme

      It is true that they are not the Quran, however, it does not matter since the 'sahih' ahadith, in effect, are elevated above the Quran, in that they purport to 'explain' it. As with all religions, if you do not like what one book allows/disallows, simply create additonal books decades or even centuries (as is the case for 'Sahih' al-Bukari, Muslim, et al.) later so you can re-interpret the former more to your liking.

      In any case, the great majority of Muslims are using the later books to base their religion/laws off, so whether or not it is Quran based is rather beside the point, no?

      July 9, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
    • Dan

      "The Hadith and the Qur'an are the two legs upon which Islam stands." ~~ ibn Khaldoon

      July 9, 2010 at 11:34 pm |
    • DJM

      The hadiths record muhammad's behavior and conduct, which the quran states is the example to follow. (verse 33:21)

      July 10, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  16. Shamrock6

    Nice religion. Where do I sing up?

    July 9, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
    • G

      Islam is actually a CONTINUATION of Christianity and Judaism.Islam has 2 forms of jihad,internal and external.Internal is about equal to Christianity's 10 Commandments and external has to do with 'holy war' against DICTATORSHIPS which are OPRESSIVE(people starving,killed,imprisoned)such as N. korea,Cuba,and Somalia.the osama extremists are using their own interpretations/beliefs/concepts about equal to david koresh,jim jones and the likes of those 'nuts'.

      July 9, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
    • G

      Most Islamics are regular people just like us.The politicians haven't even researched anything or they wouldn't sound so ignorant.Americans think they know everything because the guy next door told them.I am American and it only took about 45 minutes to find out what they are all about.The extremists 'values' are probably less than 0.1% of ALL Islamics.

      July 9, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • G

      All of our politicians are in an uproar about a mosque being built ANYWHERE.What happened to freedom of religion?If they researched about TRUE Islamic belief they wouldn't mind.No wonder the world hates us.We ALWAYS think we know what's best for EVERYBODY.Isn't lobbying basically 'buying a vote'?Isn't that what we consider corrupt gov't?Noone can bribe but us?Noone can torture POW's but us?

      July 9, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • Jean

      Q – I think it should be "Muslims", not "Islamics." When it comes to race & religion, people can be very sensitive to such differences.

      July 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • G

      it's not really any different than using Christians.it's basically the religion they study.there are multiple denominations of Christianity.Muslim is just the name for someone who practices Islam...???i'm pretty sure.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
    • ER

      To G: maybe this is just 0.0001% of Islamics, but since these events and stories like this make up 95% of stories about terrorist and idiotic dictatorships, there is a real "marketing" problem for Islam. Let us not forget about the recent movement in Pakistan that seeks to eradicate minority Muslim sects by killing them. No different from Christianity 500 years ago, but the lesson is: organized religion simply does not do anything for society. The label (or flavor of religion) does not matter, it is the exodus of logic that makes these events sound so dumb to the majority of mankind.

      July 9, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
    • jonathan

      G for your information there are no Ten Commandment for Christians....our first commandment is to believe the gospel...the second commandment is if to receive the holy Spirit...we then are to sit and learn of Him then.....walk in the spirit and the bond of peace ....and stand!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in the faith or our Lord Jesus Christ....

      this will cover everything in the bible...

      July 11, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  17. rivirivi

    Humans killing humans just for some beliefs it is not right, it is not moral, it is against love, kindness, acceptance of others. This woman and every woman in the world (as well as any men) has the right to search for her happiness. If you fall out of love from your husband or wife, separation and divorce are what civilized people not bound to some words in a book written thousands of years ago. Shame to humanity that these things happen, that sociopaths as AhMadInAJihad, Chavez,Castro, Hindu Castes believers, are running and ruining our personal lives, trampling our innate right to human happiness. Shame on the whole world.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  18. Hypocrisy

    Another example of how religion is used as an excuse to implement unjust and oppressive rule on the populace. Iran says it's a strick Islamic country, yet it practices stoning that's not even called for by the Quran. Using the later jurisprudence is using law created by man, not God. Just like the Catholic church using Canon law, which isn't based on the Bible.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
    • Buddy

      That is not the religions fault. It is the mans fault for abusing the precepts religion. If religion was not there they would find another way to force themselves upon others.

      July 9, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
    • TOM

      These laws are necessary for those who are too ignorant to seek enlightenment. The true seekers and watchers (of mind) have little need for such "laws".

      July 9, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
    • Rray

      It is islam .... islam is not quran, it is what clerics, over the last 1500 years, interpret it. ..... it is the nastiness of islam that makes all these barberic actions happening ......muhamad not only supported it, he opposed the attempt to relax it !!!!

      July 9, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
    • ER

      Why do people need religion and clerics to tell them right from wrong? It is called humanity folks, get with the program. It has developed, like human-kind itself, over the past thousands of years. You cannot use rules created thousands, or hundreds, of years ago to regulate today's society. I am sorry to say that religion, when organized, leads to this crap - it has happened over and over again, with all religions. When will people learn? Give it up people – let's learn to live with humanity, love, and kindness. It is the only sustainable solution.

      July 9, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
    • DJM

      Stoning – and many islamic barbarities – are not specifically mentioned in the quran. However, verse 33:21 states muhammad is a perfect example of conduct that all (muslim) men should follow. Muhammad's conduct is recorded in the hadith, in which muhammad condoned stoning as one of many cruel, inhumane, and unjust methods of execution.

      July 10, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  19. Kent

    He who is without sin can cast the first stone.

    July 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
    • Quest

      That only has backing if you believe in the concept of sin, which is of course more sheep skin pulled over our eyes.

      July 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    • TOM

      Sin is that which knowingly causes or increases suffering through intentional and avoidable ignorance, mindless actions, or lack of mindful action.

      July 9, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
    • Raymond from Austin

      Okay. *picks up rock.

      July 9, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
    • BebeKashmir

      I'm an Atheist, I in fact do live without sin. Consider the the stone cast!

      July 9, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
    • Jay G

      Or only if you believe in religion, which is really just the greatest form of enslavement and mind control ever created (major props to the brilliant person who first thought of using religion to control the population). That people still waste hours and hours of their life praying, going to churches, and giving away money to people who themselves only fake their own religion is just laughable in today's day and age.

      July 9, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
    • Jon

      Guys, sin is a word with a definition. As such, it exists whether there is religion or not, whether you believe in a given religion or not. BebeKashmir, arrogance and ignorance is a sin so put down that stone!

      July 9, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
    • Jeff

      I hope all of the youth rally against this oppression. Have their own summer of love ala US '69. the women too, they should tell the arrogant male dominators to step off.

      July 9, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
    • Carl

      "Jon
      Guys, sin is a word with a definition. As such, it exists whether there is religion or not, whether you believe in a given religion or not. BebeKashmir, arrogance and ignorance is a sin so put down that stone!"

      "Unicorn" is a word with a definition. Does a unicorn exist?

      Yes, we atheists do live without sin. We also live without karma, mystical energies, reincarnation, the Force, Superman, Jesus, Zeus, Mohammed, Obi-wan Kenobi, and Santa Claus.

      July 12, 2010 at 11:17 am |
    • paul

      I was going to say unicorn. If everything with a definition is real, we live in a pretty awesome world.

      You may live in a world where obi-wan isn't real, but I believe. Not in that sissy obi-wan in chapters 1-3, I mean the real obi-wan who died in combat with satan and was born again, that we all may live free of the empires evil tyranny.

      July 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  20. Marc Seltzer

    This is true. You have to have 4 witnesses testify that penetration occurred – which is next to impossible. ALso, Iwonder what happens to the men who commit adultry – do they just not get any news coverage?

    July 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
    • nOT Trash

      Nothing to report, they are barely punished.

      July 9, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
    • AMuslim,.

      Same punishment for men according to religion. If a person is unmarried the punishment is some lashes. Four witnesses are not possible unless you are doing it in open.

      July 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • ac

      I think that men can have as many wives as they want. Don't you see that they blow themselves up, because of the 12-72 virgins theory?

      July 9, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • DeputyDog

      It seems like the Islamic Republic is not following islamic law, only the whims of the judges which happen to be clerics too.

      July 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • AR

      Four witnesses??? No, eight if they are women. Am I the only one that finds this unequal treatment WRONG? Great defense! Four witnesses unless they are (naturally dishonest? or naturally ignorant?) women...then you need eight.

      July 9, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
    • Randy

      In some cultures they punish adulterous men by seizing all their money, property, vehicles and children.

      July 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
    • neuron2003

      Earth to Christians and Jews: Read Leviticus. If you are a Christian or Jew, you should condone stoning for adultery. Period. End of discussion. If you are not a Christian or Jew, (i.e., cherry pick what you want from the Gospels), then you can do whatever you want but don't call yourself a Christian or Jew.
      I would be interested to hear comments from people who identify themselves as True Christians or devout Jews.
      Ken

      July 9, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
    • JonathanL

      These laws which generally treat women as property and favor man, were written by men and are physically abusive and should be revised. They were written when we were barbarians and when our God was a barbarian too (Jehova translates as 'great warrior' – as in the pre-christian world we euro types deified our warrioirs and kings so god was some great father ancestral warrior type). Ugh we made him in our ugly barbaric image too so that is reflected in the scriptures. How totally disgusting that people can't look at this anew and decide 'this is barbaric and cruel and needs to change". But no..they will believe and fear and grovel and this will continue.

      July 9, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
    • Claire

      @neuron2003, Jesus brought a new covenant, so Old Testament barbarianism no longer applies. A true Christian follows the teachings of Jesus (Let he who is without sin throw the first stone, etc.).

      July 9, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
    • yaddayadda

      'let's not get THIS twisted;' it's 100 lashes.

      July 9, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
    • Jack

      Jesus said clearly and several times that he would not change even one letter of the law. So stoning it is. The difference, I suppose, is that we can love the sinner while we're killing her.

      July 9, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
    • vinny

      Another example at how people that that religion so ridiculously far. Its pretty pathetic, but at the same time this is a sovereign nation and we have no right to tell them how to run their judicial syste,. You arent forced to live there, and if I were a woman, I would not want to be anywhere near that country. No thanks Iran

      July 9, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
    • ssp

      how can one help to prevent this horrific crime against Sakineh?

      July 9, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
    • Howard

      The qu'ran doesn't require stoning to death for adultery... that's the jewish/christian bible.

      July 9, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
    • The Muslim

      A Muslim should never promote violence of any sort, especially lashings for adultery. Why not? Because the prophet Muhammad had a Christian son, Ishmil, who died. Ishmil was born out of wedlock through an adulterous relationship with Christian woman, Mary the Coptic Christian. Mary the Coptic was no punished and neither was the prophet Muhammad. To punish anyone for adultery make the prophet a hypocrite because he was not punished for it. Know your history my fellow Muslims, speak the truth and seek peace for all humankind.

      July 9, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
    • Matt

      Be careful with this stoning thing. Don't concentrate on that. The Iranian govt is vicious. They will promise not to stone her and the next thing you know they hang her. Concentrate on the adultry thing.

      July 9, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
    • Paladin

      @The Muslim

      You do not know what you are talking about.

      She was sent as a present (slave) by the then Coptic Ruler of Egypt in response to invitation letter from Prophet Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) then freed her and married her. The name of the child was Ibrahim, named after Abraham, the great great great great great grandfather of Prophet Muhammad. She was his wife.

      Forget John 3:16, READ John 17:3, think it, understand it and live it. There is no God, except God and Jesus is the messenger of God.

      July 9, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
    • Al

      Leviticus 24:13,16: "And The Lord [see Rock Of Ages] said to Moses ... He who blasphemes the Name of The Lord shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him; the sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death."

      Deuteronomy 13:6,10: "If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, entices you secretly, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods ... You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."

      Numbers 15:32,35: "While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day ... And The Lord said to Moses, "The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp."

      July 9, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
    • colio

      If this is happening all countries around Iran like in Saudi Arabia etc where friends of Busch rule, why are we picking on Iran only?

      July 9, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
    • Ah_yes

      No problem. Once Muslims start working with NASA on the flight to Mars all of this Sharia foolishness will be left behind. Right?

      /sarc/

      July 9, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
    • linda

      I believe in God... the Bible, the Koran, all others.. they were written by MEN... nothing but a bunch of twisted egotistic idiots who think they are righteous. Assuming this is true.. .really??? kill her?? ok but I noticed the so called guy is not along side of her... MEN ARE PATHETIC WEAK creatures... God's only mistake.

      July 9, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
    • Tormented Skeptic

      Those amongst you arguing semantics and interpretations have missed the point entirely. The absurdity of this story comes from the fact that a country is ruled, not by the logical rules of a council or legislative body, but by the sadistic rules of Allah ( which, it must be said, are clearly the rules of sadistic men.) Iran is a theocracy, ruled by the divine, and once a nation falls so far as to accept any religious text as objective truth, that nation is doomed to violate any and every civil liberty that we, as Americans, have come to accept as commonplace and natural. This is why we separate the unimaginable cruelties of the bible, the torah and the koran from our legislative process. We should thank Jefferson on a daily basis for his insistence on a separation of church and state and the freedoms and capacity for reason that it allows.

      We must endeavor to rule by our faculties of sense, reason and intellect, rather than by religious edicts scribbled by antiquated, near-illiterate middle eastern sadists wishing to rule through fear and the uncertainty of the world beyond the grave.

      July 9, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
    • Janaki

      @Paladin

      Get your stories right. Mohammad was caught by one of his wives Hafsa having sex with Mary the copt on Hafsa's "turn". Mary was not his wife then and he was not married to her. Hafsa found out, got mad,mohammad asked her not to tell anyone, but she told other wives. The result – the following verses –

      66.1 – O Prophet! Why holdest thou to be forbidden that which Allah has made lawful to thee? Thou seekest to please thy consorts. But Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
      66.2 – Allah has already ordained for you, (O men), the dissolution of your oaths (in some cases): and Allah is your Protector, and He is Full of Knowledge and Wisdom.
      66.3 – When the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his consorts, and she then divulged it (to another), and Allah made it known to him, he confirmed part thereof and repudiated a part. Then when he told her thereof, she said, "Who told thee this? "He said, "He told me Who knows and is well-acquainted (with all things)."
      66.4 – If ye two turn in repentance to Him, your hearts are indeed so inclined; But if ye back up each other against him, truly Allah is his Protector, and Gabriel, and (every) righteous one among those who believe,- and furthermore, the angels – will back (him) up.
      66.5 – It may be, if he divorced you (all), that Allah will give him in exchange consorts better than you,- who submit (their wills), who believe, who are devout, who turn to Allah in repentance, who worship (in humility), who travel (for Faith) and fast,- previously married or virgins.

      (How you believe such verses could have a divine source is beyond me....)

      July 9, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
    • Healgasm

      It's 2010 and somehow we can still pretend that any conversation involving religion is "logical"? Seriously, we are discussing whether the Koran permits men to stone women for adultery or give them 100 lashes. We have politicians in America saying that child-rape victims should carry children to term because it's "God's Plan". The Vatican says condoms promote the spread of Aids in Africa. I hope I live to see the day that God's rules and "plans", and coincidently his righteous followers, are openly ridiculed. Peace 🙂

      July 9, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
    • hommos

      That is Islam. That judge is following his religion's rules, s he can't really be blamed, you should blame his so called "prophet"

      July 9, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
    • Rhonda

      why is only the woman stoned in an adultery case? If it is true that she committed adultery, who is the man who commetted adultery with her, and why isn't he stoned also?

      July 9, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
    • luvuall

      To Jack: So even if Jesus didn't say he would change one letter of the law did he always obey it himself? Or did he perform miracles on the Sabbath or do anything other people at his time perceived to be breaking the law. You see there's always room for interpretation. If Jesus walked the earth today he'd probably be a defense attorney -and he might even work on Saturdays (or Sundays? -which one is the Sabbath now?). Peace. 🙂 BTW, wouldn't it be cool if Jesus occasionally posted on CNN too?

      July 10, 2010 at 12:22 am |
    • Non Idiot

      Quran, Bible ... Books written by who knows who, who knows when..
      At best they are nothing more than books written to control uneducated population with the fear of something unknown.
      Idiots are quoting the books. Another set of idiots thinks it is newsworthy!!!
      Wow.. we must be middle ages.. Oh no it is 21st century..
      Let the idiots fight.. Smart pants rule them all!!!

      July 10, 2010 at 12:53 am |
    • Adam

      Some of you have stated that christians only need to follow the new testament. Well the fact is that this is not true. Earlier christian scholars followed much of the old testament, including punishment for Adultry and fornication. And unlike the Quran, it isn't nigh impossible to enforce.
      Also, many of you are looking at the punishment(100 lashes for fornication) and NOT looking at what is more important: How this is enforced.

      not only do they need 4 witnesses, but the witnesses must witness PENETRATION. Not just a man and woman sitting on top of eachother naked, but actual penetration.

      VERY unlikely that can be easily witnessed. Almost as if the law were made like that. Hmmm...........

      July 10, 2010 at 2:38 am |
    • yanni

      Stoning is not authorized under the Christian dispensation. It was a punishment under the Old Testament. Jesus said he wouldn't change the old law until all was fulfilled. The New Testament went into effect when jesus died on the cross. His law wasn't effective until His death when the old law was nailed to the cross (figuratively). Why don't people actually read the Bible before they comment on its contents?

      July 12, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • MikeTheInfidel

      Claire:
      "Jesus brought a new covenant, so Old Testament barbarianism no longer applies."

      Jesus would disagree with you. Matthew 5:18-19: "I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, ***not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished***. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

      yanni:
      "Jesus said he wouldn't change the old law until all was fulfilled. The New Testament went into effect when jesus died on the cross. His law wasn't effective until His death when the old law was nailed to the cross (figuratively). "

      You seem to have missed the bit about heaven and earth disappearing.

      Claire:

      "A true Christian follows the teachings of Jesus (Let he who is without sin throw the first stone, etc.)."

      I think you'll find that that passage was never in the original version of the gospel, and was in fact added several centuries later.

      You people and your insane beliefs...

      July 13, 2010 at 12:03 am |
    • Kafir

      Some strict interpretations of Islamic law calls for the death penalty for any woman found in the company of a man other than a close family member. Sexual activity is assumed to have happened. Some places will bury a man to his waist and stone him, but if he gets free he is allowed to leave.

      July 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • Ruth

      AMuslim, if men get the same treatment then where's the guy she comitted adultery with? Did they convict her without even knowing who he is? This is ridiculous.

      July 13, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
    • Trex

      First of all: The New Covenant does not invalidate the Old Covenant.
      We can see this occurring in the following three verses:
      Psalm 118:22-23 The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD'S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
      Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily.
      Matt 21:42-43 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: `The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.

      We see that the New Covenant is a transition from just one “Chosen” group the Jewish Nation to all believers in his Son the Messiah. Now with that New Covenant in place we must now pay more close attention to the Old Testament with the following mindset as a Christian:

      Matt 22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him (Jesus) a question, tempting him, and saying,
      36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
      37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
      38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
      39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
      40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

      So doing this: would you execute the Law when you yourself are guilty of violating it? The answer must invariably be no. Only God has the right and justification to execute the Law because it is his Law.

      So that leads us to John 8:7

      John 8:5-7
      5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
      But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

      So please lets be honest. All of you who are using the Law like the Pharisees were you have fallen into the trap that they were in. Understanding the letter of the Law but not the intent.

      July 13, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • American Muslim

      Why do we always sound not intelligent and often look down on others? If you don't understand, don't talk. (And that wasn't to you Marc, but to some responds)...

      Anyway, unlike some comments, the Islamic law was put to push MEN away from cheating (as men usually fall into that act far more often than women).
      And as the article mention, when it comes to the technicality for the punishment, unless the adultery happened on the street, it is very difficult to have 4 witnesses with no criminal records (and if they lie, they will be punished big time... so tell me even if we have 4, will they come to witness.

      And as mentioned in article, EVEN if a person said I did it, the prophet use to send them back hom “What’s wrong with you… why coming to me… go back and ask your lord for forgiveness”, he use to send them back three times, and finally he would ask about the person if he has a mental problem, and when all came back to say that he is has no mental problem, the execution was carried

      So, learn before you judge the religion... knowledge is power!!

      July 14, 2010 at 9:28 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.