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September 6th, 2010
10:18 AM ET

Woman set to be stoned speaks out

Editor's note: CNN's Ivan Watson brings us this report from Oslo.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Iran • Islam • Muslim • Politics • Violence • Women

soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Nonimus

    Eman,
    I think I understand what you saying about this not being Islam but Iran and that makes sense. However, you also commit a hasty generalization, "what America is doing is BARBARIC". First, America is not taking away anyone's right to practice their religion. If you're referring to the Islamic comm. center in NYC, then no one is prohibiting it's construction. There are a lot protests happening, which is also a protect right, but no one has stopped the center. Actually, I'm beginning to think that the best solution is to get a group together and build a mosque actually at ground zero, as part of the memorial. If nothing else, than to say, "Ter.ro.rism will not divide us!" But that's just me.
    As for Freedom of dress, which i've never heard of but I understand what you're saying, usually within the restrictions of local ordinances there are no additional restriction from the US government, I don't think anyway. And technically i would think that modesty becomes oppression when it is coerced. Whether Muslim women are being coerced or not may be debatable, although i would think that modesty would also involve to some degree not attracting undue attention for physical appearance. In Saudi Arabia wearing a burka may be the least conspicuous, but in the US that is not the case. Again, I don't think anyone is saying Muslims can't wear hijab or wherever they want.

    September 7, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
    • Kate

      @Nonimus

      You'd think someone would have thought about that by now, wouldn't you? (one group)

      But considering the Ground Zero construction itself seems to be going nowhere, maybe a group might just mean nothing gets built in the first place 🙁

      I've long said that if this community center is a "Victory" anything, it should be a message, a shot heard around the world, that is a slap in the face of bin Laden and the rest of his unholy band of fanatics that the US will not compromise its freedoms to fear and paranoia, and directly rejects his belief in a war between Islam and the world.

      We should be able to rise above the divisions politicians and pundits endorse to gain votes and ratings. We're Americans – not hyphenated by religion or race, in this.

      You'd think.

      As for freedom of dress, it's freedom of expression. Not so long ago culture legislated through obscenity laws against too little dress (and still does – if you're a woman at least) – but why should it also decide to mandate what is too much dress?

      If it's oppressive to tell women what to wear, then it's just as oppressive to tell women what they can't wear. It's really that simple. If a muslimah is told she cannot wear what she chooses in order to be modest, then it's no different than telling her she must wear certain clothing.

      Freedom is absolute, conditional freedom is no freedom at all.

      September 8, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Kate,
      The other option would be to ban all religious buildings in Manhattan, which would also be fine with me, but it would be harder/impossible to implement.

      While i agree that an outright ban on hijab/burqa would violate civil rights and generally coercion to not do/wear something is just as oppressive as coercion to not do/wear something, there are always restrictions on freedoms; they are not absolute. Absolute freedom is anarchy. I think this is the meaning being some concepts of government as a social contract. etc. etc.

      Anyway, just like yelling "fire" in a theater, nudity in public, and legally required autopsies when a crime is committed, there are legitimate restrictions on many freedoms and one might be the requirement to submit to facial identification regardless of religious beliefs and/or clothing choices.

      September 9, 2010 at 11:52 am |
    • Nonimus

      oops...
      coercion to not do/wear something is just as oppressive as coercion to ___ do/wear something

      September 9, 2010 at 11:55 am |
    • Kate

      @Nonimus

      Sorry for the late reply, I took the day off because the level of vitriol and hate being spewed by newcomers/drive bys on the threads about Imam Rauf's appearance was just insane.

      I agree that some restrictions are needed, that's why we have laws and legislation to begin with – all are "controls" over behavior. But in general, when it comes to individual freedoms, I find the phrase "Your rights end where they affect mine" to be the best "generic" way of expressing how I see them working.

      In that vein, I thought I'd clarify something that you validly bring up, identification. It's in the Qur'an that niqabis reveal themselves when identification is required by the relevant authorities, be it a judge (or a cop, by extention), or a storekeeper.

      I realize that there's been confusion on that in the media and even amongst niqabis, I can't speak for those though.

      So the return question would be, even if slightly off topic – what right does "everyone" have to see someone else's face? They don't need to. I have my own thoughts on that, but they'd throw this really off topic 🙂

      Back on topic, I strongly disagree with the situation this muslimah is facing, and the justification for it feels to me like a total cop out to try and get a punishment for a crime they can't even prove (and certainly haven't proven the spurious adultery charge according to the criteria laid out in the Qur'an itself as far as I can tell). Once upon a time I swore an oath to uphold the rights of my countrymen, and the whole situation offends the innate sense of justice and fairness that goes with that.

      Not that it's much help for her right now 🙁

      Just sayin'

      September 10, 2010 at 12:19 am |
  2. Eman

    John-
    First off, I did not say this punishment was OKAY. Its barbaric and cruel and entirley unethical. The point I am trying to make is that this is not Islam, killing is a sin, a HUGE sin in Islam. The men who are raging on about " Jihad against the West" are in my humble thoughts and the thoughts of millions of other muslims, insane and disturbed. When I said muslims helped build America, I was reffering to the past, when america was a young country, but now that you mention it, muslims are still building this country; through the taxes they pay. Right now, what America is doing is BARBARIC. Its taking away a basic human right, whatever happened to freedom to practice ones religion? What propaganda like this is doing is making it impossible for young muslim men and women to be seen as equals when they are as much citizens as everyone else. Freedom of dress is going down the drain too, because i choose to be modest and not be displaying my body, I'm oppressed? Funny, when did modesty become a synonym for oppression? It seems the education level of our country is sinking while ignorance and stupidity is on the rise..

    September 7, 2010 at 3:56 am |
  3. AGA

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDJVUnX0rwQ&rel=0&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xd0d0d0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

    September 7, 2010 at 2:00 am |
  4. Eman

    Kate, thats a very valid point, well put ! Its just really unfortunate for Muslims who are american born citizens and are facing the injustice that stories like this create.

    September 7, 2010 at 1:10 am |
    • Kate

      @Eman

      Especially with the injunction against backbiting hindering speaking out. It's easier when speaking about AQ or bin Laden after ibn Baaz declared him khariji, but there's a lot of American Muslims get stymied between that direct prohibition and seeing something that is ... not entirely kosher (no pun intended)

      Just sighin'

      September 7, 2010 at 1:49 am |
  5. Eman

    You know what I love. People who make judgements based on stories of which they only know one side. Before people start making decisons based on biased information, id just like to throw out the fact that most of these customs arent based on islamic teachings at all, its iranian traditions and the cause of a government thats incapable of running a country. Its stories like this thats causing this islamaphobia thats been growing for the past 9 years in a country that muslims helped BUILD. Its pathetic, because people who are making this statements like the pompous genetlmen who is initating the " Burn a Koran" movement probably dont even know a muslim, and are instead making their judements based on biased news casts that are slanted to make islam look like the enemy.

    September 6, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
    • Kate

      @Eman

      Most of the people these days don't want to meet anyone, life is much easier if you get it canned on TV. The idea of actually talking to a Muslim would scare them witless!

      But having said that, the same applies to some within the Ummah too – and far too many conflate cultural, tribal, and traditional with Qur'anic and Sha'ria to be able to see when things are not as written.

      When the loudest voices are the ones being heard, the wisest voices whispers in the wind.

      September 6, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You said, "Its stories like this thats causing this islamaphobia thats been growing for the past 9 years in a country that muslims helped BUILD."

      Hmmm... I don't know what the Muslims did in the last 9 years, that helped build a country that already existed.
      The attack on the World Trade Center would cancel a lot of country building, I think.
      What do you say we don't go there. Okay?

      You said, "People who make judgements based on stories of which they only know one side"

      Well, I know the side where a woman was whipped. I know the side where she is condemned to be stoned to death.

      There is no other "side" that would make this punishment okay. It is brutal. It is barbaric. If your god demands it, you need to get another god.

      September 7, 2010 at 1:33 am |
    • Kate

      @David Johnson

      On the understanding I am not a scholar, with regards to the punishment all I can do is point you at Sura 24, aya 2 of the Qur`an

      The adulteress and the adulterer you shall wh|p each of them a hundred lashes. Do not be swayed by pity from carrying out GOD's law, if you truly believe in GOD and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness their penalty.

      With the rider that, to myunderstanding, the punishment is symbolic, the public humiliation is the purpose.

      I can't say why this situation is different. I wish I knew.

      I also know that the rules for declaring someone has committed adultery require some maneuvering too – rules that came about when Aisha was falsely accused by innuendo of committing adultery. Again, I don't know why the disconnect.

      This is one of the reasons for scholars – amateurs like myself don;t stand a chance of figuring it out fully 🙂

      September 7, 2010 at 1:40 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Kate
      "This is one of the reasons for scholars – amateurs like myself don;t stand a chance of figuring it out fully"
      Isn't this a problem with all religions and doctrinal organizations, no matter what the issue someone can always say 'you don't understand it correctly'.

      September 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • Kate

      @Nonimus

      That's true about anything where learning is involved, yep – and I think it's also one of the reasons how people get radicalized (on almost any topic not just religion).

      But that's also why I make sure the fact I'm not even close to being one is made clear when I post things like I did, in the hopes people will go and find out for themselves from the host of sources they have at their fingertips – which is what I did, and still do.

      On topics like this one, people have to be able to make their own minds up from all the information, including from those who know the original language, know the culture at the time, know the context, and can come up with valid interpretations – scholars.

      In my case, the scholars I listen to are the ones who go on after saying "you don't understand" to explain why, and then discuss and debate it until understanding is reached satisfactorily. And I'm still learning daily. I probably won't stop learning until I'm in the ground, and even then someone will have to take the books out of the hole I'll smuggle in 😛

      Now if only quantum physicists would be as accommodating! 🙂

      Just sayin'

      September 7, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • Kate

      @Nonimus

      I guess what I really want to say is, we all have minds (whether God gave them to us or they just spontaneously achieved sentience isn't relevant) – There is a mortal sin in this world we inhabit – failing to use them.

      Just thinkin'

      September 7, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Kate,
      I agree that it's a shame not to use the brains we have, however, I think there may be a distinction between doctrinal (ideas based solely on doctrine) and fact/evidence based ideologies. If there is no fact or evidence on which to base the doctrine then someone can usually find some way to make it say what they want. If the doctrine or ideology is grounded in facts though then any interpretation that goes against those facts would contradict itself. Basically, if there is no evidence required then there is no requirments evident; you can say whatever you want.

      September 7, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • Kate

      @Nonimus

      You say that like you feel the two are totally incompatible – fact based and faith based. I'd have to disagree with you on that – how many scientific advances started out with an intuitive leap without supporting data, for example?

      Yes, I know you'll reply to that by pointing out that such discoveries then were subjected to the scientific method – observable, reproducible, results – but that doesn't invalidate that, at the beginning, someone made a leap of faith, either logically or entirely illogically (Marie Curie for example, or Louis Pasteur, or the Wright Brothers – or even Magellan and Columbus).

      In the case of religion, the question gets split into both parts – fact, and faith. "Fact" usually comes to us in the form of scriptures, sometimes supported by the writings of contemporaries (but not always), "faith" comes from the meaning of those writings.

      A rational person can believe the message if it makes sense to them, even if they can't quantify it with facts, only intuitive leaps. Other similarly rational people can require absolute fact based evidence first. But that's why it's called faith, and not science 🙂

      Just observin'

      September 7, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Kate,
      Perhaps I wasn't clear, I wasn't commenting strictly on science vs. religion and I'm certainly not saying that the two are "totally incompatible".
      All I'm trying to say is that given a sufficiently large set of documents or texts (doctrine) one can interpret them to say pretty much anything. Without some reference, or evidence, external to the doctrine there is no way to calibrate the interpretations.

      And back to the earlier statements, I wonder if phrases like, 'you don't understand it correctly' and 'amateurs... don't stand a chance of figuring it out fully' are used, in many cases, not to encourage better understanding, but to hide or obscure aspects that frankly don't make sense. This approach would be especially effective if there were no external references against which to validate.

      September 8, 2010 at 9:59 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Kate,
      Perhaps I wasn't clear, I wasn't commenting strictly on science vs. religion and I'm certainly not saying that the two are "totally incompatible".
      All I'm trying to say is that given a sufficiently large set of documents or texts (doctrine) one can interpret them to say pretty much anything. Without some reference, or evidence, external to the doctrine there is no way to calib.rate the interpretations.

      And back to the earlier statements, I wonder if phrases like, 'you don't understand it correctly' and 'amateurs... don't stand a chance of figuring it out fully' are used, in many cases, not to encourage better understanding, but to hide or obscure aspects that frankly don't make sense. This approach would be especially effective if there were no external references against which to validate.

      September 8, 2010 at 10:01 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Kate,
      Perhaps I wasn't clear, I wasn't commenting strictly on science vs. religion and I'm certainly not saying that the two are "totally incompatible".
      All I'm trying to say is that given a sufficiently large set of docu.ments or texts (doctrine) one can interpret them to say pretty much anything. Without some reference, or evidence, external to the doctrine there is no way to calibrate the interpretations.

      And back to the earlier statements, I wonder if phrases like, 'you don't understand it correctly' and 'amateurs... don't stand a chance of figuring it out fully' are used, in many cases, not to encourage better understanding, but to hide or obscure aspects that frankly don't make sense. This approach would be especially effective if there were no external references against which to validate.

      September 8, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • Kate

      @Nonimus

      I misunderstood your point, sorry about that.

      Your point about interpretations is a pretty good one, but that's where using your mind comes into it – in an ideal world at least.

      I can't speak for anyone else, but when I said that as an amateur I have no chance, I meant it quite honestly. I'm not a scholar, I haven't spent my life learning the original language, the contexts, the environment, all the other things that go into those interpretations.

      But having said that, when it comes to Islam there can be widely divergent interpretations even amongst scholars – so it's a simple statement of truth: I have no chance of understanding it "better" than they.

      Unfortunately, there are some out there that refuse to be quite as honest as me on that – and if they're populists, it's a recipe for something like AQ.

      I think the way Christianity was warped from the original teachings of Christ into the Pauline version, and then built on by those with "knowledge" in the near centuries after to fit their particular prejudices is a very large warning sign of what can happen when knowledge is restricted to one group, or one person.

      Thankfully in the 21st century information is available to many, the only trouble is separating out the information provided by those with an agenda from that provided by those "honest" intellectuals – and, to be honest, being interested enough to hit more than the first hit on google.

      Just musin'

      September 8, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  6. AGA

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQdGBu4biWU&rel=0&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xd0d0d0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

    September 6, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
    • David Johnson

      WoW! For a second, I almost forgot that you oppress your women, whip and mutilate and stone people who have committed crimes. Saudi Arabia was contemplating paralyzing a healthy man, due to the eye for an eye concept.

      Use the google to search for videos of men cutting off the arms and hands of other men. Probably praising Allah the entire time.
      You will find the video of a young boy who is forced to lie with his arm on some rags while a truck runs over his arm. He was guilty of some petty crime. Allah Akbar!

      Who is Allah? Ans. – He is a myth. These mutilations are being done in the name of a god that never has and never will exist!

      Am I being predjudice? Or biased? Nope, the Christian god(s) don't exist either. Nor do any other gods.

      If I am wrong, show me proof of Allah! Move me a mountain, buzz my house on a winged horse.
      Make another six pack appear in my fridge. Not the cheap stuff either.

      I am tolerant. Build your mosques. Worship your god. But leave that Sharia law in the Middle East.

      And don't be as pesky as he Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. We don't need another religion knocking on our doors.

      September 7, 2010 at 2:02 am |
    • Kate

      @David Johnson

      You are being biased – "not the cheap stuff" indeed.

      I'll have you know that there are hordes of Americans who work feverishly on a daily basis to provide you with cheap beer-flavored water!

      I bet you're a democrat – you're sounding very anti-busch!

      Just sayin'

      September 7, 2010 at 2:09 am |
  7. steve jaubert

    In one article about the preacher and the church set to burn kurans is not this comparable to extremists in islamist religion like al qaeda and yet muslims want to condemn all of christianity but want to be understood as moderate peaceful in general. Then why not speak out against a system of law that allows prolonged suffering and outmoded death sentencing like stoning from medieval times. In the US muslims are protected from such by law. That's quite different and yet they don't seem to appreciate the freedom in this country but want to be the silent ones who essentially support the old ways that threaten to bring continued problems. Imagine if we stoned someone here in these days or hung someone for adultery today and it was supported by the constitution. steve jaubert

    September 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  8. tosser

    Gotta hand it to the Muslims. They don't take any crap from their women.

    September 6, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Yep, I bet they are at a dead run when you send 'em for a beer. LOL

      September 7, 2010 at 1:36 am |
  9. TheRationale

    I love how mainstream Islam is better than extremist Islam. Oh wait...

    September 6, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  10. David Johnson

    It is hard for me to believe the Iranian Governmet would lie. Are they not followers of Islam?

    September 6, 2010 at 11:57 am |
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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.