Free Essay


In: Religion Topics

Submitted By bimap
Words 1350
Pages 6
Crime (Sex) and Punishment (Stoning)
Published: August 21, 2010, The New York Times

It may be the oldest form of execution in the world, and it is certainly among the most barbaric. In the West, death by stoning is so remote from experience that it is best known through Monty Python skits and lurid fiction like Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery.”

Yet two recent real world cases have struck a nerve: a young couple were stoned to death last week in northern Afghanistan for trying to elope, in a grim sign of the Taliban’s resurgence. And last month, an international campaign rose up in defense of an Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who had been sentenced to death by stoning on adultery charges.
Much of the outrage those cases generated — apart from the sheer anachronism of stoning in the 21st century — seems to stem from the gulf between sexual attitudes in the West and parts of the Islamic world, where some radical movements have turned to draconian punishments, and a vision of restoring a long-lost past, in their search for religious authenticity.
The stoning of adulterers was once aimed at preventing illegitimate births that might muddy the male tribal bloodlines of medieval Arabia. But it is now taking place in a world where more and more women demand reproductive freedoms, equal pay and equal status with men — in parts of the Islamic world as well as throughout the West.
Those clashing perspectives became apparent last month when Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, offered to grant asylum to Ms. Ashtiani, the Iranian woman convicted of adultery. His comments made clear that he viewed her as a victim — Brazil is not exactly known for its severe attitudes toward out-of-wedlock sex — and an online petition for her release drew hundreds of thousands of signatures. The case became an embarrassment to the Iranian government, which values its warm diplomatic ties with Brazil. The Iranian authorities quickly redefined her crime as murder, in an apparent effort to legitimize their case against her.

The Taliban, by contrast, are not vulnerable to shaming. They defined themselves in the 1990s largely through the imposition of an incredibly harsh and widely disputed version of Islamic law, under which stonings for adultery became common. Last week’s stoning, by hundreds of villagers in Kunduz Province, was a dire indicator of where Afghanistan may be headed.
“There is no way to say how many stonings took place, but it was widespread” when the Taliban ruled, said Nader Nadery, a senior commissioner on the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. “Often the man escaped, and the woman only was punished, especially if he had connections or was a member of the Taliban.” Other sexual crimes were accorded similarly grotesque penalties: homosexuals, for instance, had a brick wall collapsed onto them.

Stoning is not practiced only among Muslims, nor did it begin with Islam. Human rights groups say a young girl was stoned to death in 2007 in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Yazidi community, which practices an ancient Kurdish religion. The Old Testament includes an episode in which Moses arranges for a man who violated the Sabbath to be stoned, and stoning probably took place among Jewish communities in the ancient Near East. Rabbinic law, which was composed starting in the first century A.D., specifies stoning as the penalty for a variety of crimes, with elaborate instructions for how it should be carried out. But it is not clear to what extent it was used, if ever, said Barry Wimpfheimer, an assistant professor of religion at Northwestern University and an expert on Jewish law.
Some Muslims complain that stoning — along with other traditional penalties like whipping and the amputation of hands — is too often sensationalized in the West to smear the reputation of Islam generally. Most of these severe punishments are carried out by the Taliban and other radicals who, many Islamic scholars say, have little real knowledge of Islamic law. Stoning is a legal punishment in only a handful of Muslim countries — in addition to Iran, they include Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan and Nigeria, but it is very rarely put to use.

Stoning is not prescribed by the Koran. The punishment is rooted in Islamic legal traditions, known as hadiths, that designate it as the penalty for adultery. While the penalty may seem savage to Western eyes, scholars say it is consistent with the values of Arabian society at the time of Muhammad, Islam’s founding prophet.

Adultery “was considered to offend some of the fundamental purposes of Islamic law: to protect lineage, family, honor and property,” said Kristen Stilt, an associate professor at Northwestern University who has written about Islamic law. “It was a tribal society, and knowing who children belonged to was very important.”

That may help explain the link between sexual crimes and stoning, as opposed to another form of execution. A crime that seemed to violate the community’s identity called for a communal response. Certainly the special horror of stoning is rooted in the prospect of being pelted to death by one’s own friends, neighbors and relatives.
But Islamic law requires very strict conditions for a stoning sentence: four male eyewitnesses must attest to having seen the sexual act and their accounts must match in all details, or else they can be subject to criminal penalties, said Aron Zysow, a specialist on Islamic law at Princeton University. Some scholars even argue that the stoning penalty is meant more as a symbolic warning against misbehavior than as a punishment to be taken literally.

In any case, societies evolve. The move to implement severe penalties like stoning — known collectively as “hud” after the Arabic word for limits — is ultimately a matter of policy, not religious orthodoxy. Even under the Ottoman empire, when secular and religious authority were combined, stoning and other penalties were viewed at times as crude remnants of the past.
In Iran, the empowerment of political Islam after the 1979 revolution brought a new criminal code that included stoning. It prescribes a detailed ritual: men are to be buried in a standing position up to their waists, women to above the breasts. The stones used must not be large enough to kill a person with one or two throws, nor so small as to be considered pebbles. If the adultery was proved by confession, the judge must cast the first stone; if it is proved by witnesses, then one of the witnesses goes first.
Anyone who survives a stoning is set free without further punishment. But that is unlikely, given that victims are usually bound in cloth and have their hands tied before they are buried.

Iranian leaders are clearly uneasy about stoning, which has helped to darken their country’s reputation. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently said that “very few” people were sentenced to stoning, and that the judiciary did not release any information about stoning cases. Iranian lawyers who have been involved in such cases say that as many as 100 stonings have been carried out since the revolution, but that the practice was becoming less common.
Between 2006 and 2008 at least six stonings took place, all of them in secret, said Hadi Ghaemi, the director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Currently at least 10 people are in Iranian jails under stoning sentences, seven women and three men, he added.
There is a vigorous domestic campaign against stoning in Iran, largely led by women. The former head of Iran’s judiciary made several recommendations to judges not to impose or implement stoning sentences, but all have been ignored. A parliamentary committee recommended last year that stoning be deleted from the penal code, but the measure has not been taken to a vote.
In Afghanistan, by contrast, stoning seems to be on the rise, despite its unpopularity.
“You do see an increase in these so-called applications of justice by the Taliban in morality cases,” Mr. Nadery said. “Over the last seven months, 200 people have been killed for showing disapproval or criticizing actions by the Taliban.”

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Stoning in the Lottery

...Michael Schminky/ student# M00032547 GEEN 2312 09/24/2012 Preparation of essay- Hook Much of what we can observe that is happening in the short story The lottery by Shirley Jackson, makes repeated allusions to ancient rituals and sacrificial gatherings, especially the stoning aspect of the anecdote. Thesis statement The stoning of Tessie Hutchinson in the short story The lottery. How desperate Tessie must have felt when she knew she was getting stoned by the entire village; she understood and she was clear of her certain death and pain before it. 3 topic sentences 1- Tessie had a relatively large family in the village. 2- When the village folk found out Tessie Hutchinson was the one getting stoned, they gossiped it around so everyone would know who to stone to death. 3- The children were the ones who gathered the stones that later were used to kill Tessie. Idea for the conclusion The stoning in the short story gives a clear view of the chauvinistic way women were treated as when the lottery was commencing the men gathered firstly before the women. Stoning in The lottery also alludes to the Islamic view of women in contemporary times and how children are drawn into a tradition of violence. Quotations from the story that you would like to use Tessie Hutchinson: “It isn’t fair it isn’t right” “Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr....

Words: 269 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Stoning of Soraya

...STONING OF SORAYA In this movie, an innocent woman (Soraya) is seen to be oppressed and harassed and also maltreated because of her husband falsely accusing her of adultery intentionally. Husband to Soraya is Ali, and they have two daughters and two sons. Sons are what Ali wants so much, and he had turned them against Soraya. He is an abusive husband and tries to get the Muslim man (Mullah) to persuade Soraya to permit him a divorce in order for him to marry a 14-year-old girl. Marriage to this girl is based on the condition that Ali saves the father who has been sentenced for an unknown crime. Then Mullah tries to convince Soraya to be his temporary wife while providing monetary and protection to Soraya and her two daughters. Plan does not work out as predicted by Mullah since Soraya refuses this offer. Following this incident, Hashem wife dies and Mullah and Ali talk to Zahra to convince Soraya to take care of the widower (Hashem). Zahra argues that Soraya can only do that if she is paid.The beginning of problems for Soraya commenced when Soraya started working for the widower. A perfect opportunity for Ali to start spreading rumors that Soraya was unfaithful in order for her to be stoned to death hence enabling Ali to marry again. Apart from this, it also made Ali be exempted from paying for his two daughter’s maintenance if Soraya was to be stoned to death....

Words: 1832 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

The Stoning of Soraya M.

...Present THE STONING OF SORAYA M. Directed by CYRUS NOWRASTEH Starring SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO MOZHAN MARNÒ and JIM CAVIEZEL Written by BETSY GIFFEN NOWRASTEH & CYRUS NOWRASTEH Based on the book “The Stoning of Soraya M.” by FREIDOUNE SAHEBJAM Rated R for a disturbing sequence of cruel and brutal violence, and brief strong language 114 Minutes NY PUBLICITY: Lina Plath/Clare Anne Darragh Frank PR 99 John St., #225 New York, NY 10038 Tel: 646-861-0843 LA PUBLICITY: Fredell Pogodin/Bradley Jones Fredell Pogodin & Associates 7223 Beverly Blvd., Suite 202 Los Angeles, CA 90036 Tel: 323-931-7300 ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS: Veronica Bufalini/Meghann Burns Roadside Attractions 7920 Sunset Blvd. #402 Los Angeles, CA 90046 Tel: 323-882-8490 For publicity materials, please visit: Official Website: THE STONING OF SORAYA M. ABOUT THE FILM In a world of secrecy, corruption and injustice, a single courageous voice can tell a true story that changes everything. This is what lies at the heart of the emotionally charged experience of THE STONING OF SORAYA M. Based on an incredible true story, this powerful tale of a village’s persecution of an innocent woman becomes both a daring act of witness and a compelling parable about mob rule....

Words: 11915 - Pages: 48

Free Essay

The Stoning of Soraya M

...Stranded in the remote Iranian village of Kuhpayeh by car trouble, a journalist is approached by Zahra, a woman with a harrowing tale to tell about her niece, Soraya, and the bloody circumstances of Soraya's death, by stoning, the previous day. The two sit down as Zahra recounts the story to Freidoune, who records the conversation with his tape recorder. The journalist must escape with his life to tell the story to the rest of the world. Ali is Soraya's abusive husband who tries to get the village's mullah to convince Soraya to grant him a divorce so that he can marry a 14-year-old girl.[5][6] Ali is able to convince the mullah by making threats to tell the rest of the village about his past as a convict. Ali's marriage to the teenager is conditional on Ali's ability to save the girl's father, a doctor who has been sentenced to death for an unspecified crime. The mullah proposes that Soraya becomes his temporary wife, referred to in Iran as 'Sigeh', in exchange for protection and monetary support for Soraya and her two daughters. Zahra barges in and encourages Soraya to refuse the offer. Soraya has two sons whom Ali wants, and who have both turned against her. Some days following the incident, a woman dies. The mullah, the village's mayor, and Ali ask Zahra to persuade Soraya to care for the widower. Zahra suggests that Soraya may do the job if she is paid....

Words: 824 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

The Stoning of Soraya M.

...Al Mohammed Cultural Anthropology May 23, 2016 Reflection Paper The Stoning of Soraya M. Up to this day, there are few countries who still perform executions like stoning or beheading; in Iran, Mauritania, in some parts of Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen where in these types of execution are still legal and performed on women by the cause of adultery. The movie "The Stoning of Soraya M.," based on a true story in Iran, where in women had their lack of rights in their country and how Soraya was abused and betrayed by her husband. Soraya was merely a victim. Her husband, Ali, wanted her executed so that he could get rid of her faster, while the widower lied in order to protect his son from being an orphan. Everything that has happened was a tragic and should be an eye-opener to all viewers and to inform them that women should have their rights as well. The Muslims looks at men as a more important people to the community, unlike women who are unheard or even abused. The way they dress; women are supposed to be covered from head to toe. There was a scene where in Mullah asked Soraya to get a divorce, but because she was worried about her children, Mullah suggested that she could be a temporary wife. And he said that it was ok and it is part of their religion, but according to Zahra it was a sin so she started cursing him....

Words: 660 - Pages: 3

Free Essay


...Sentences of stoning and amputation are relatively rare: between 1981and1992forty-five judicial amputations were carried out and four death penalties by stoning in Saudi Arabia. The introduction of the Sharia became the rallying cry of the religiously inspired political movements. The idea of going back to their cultural roots and of imposing Islamic norms on society was appealing to large segments of the population that were opposed to the increasing Western political and cultural influence. In a few countries, as we shall see, Sharia-based legislation was adopted, whereby criminal legislation usually was the first to be enacted. In implementing Islamic criminal law, there is a clear emphasis on the fixed punishments, because here the contradictions between Islamic criminal law and Western-type penal law are glaring. The punishments such as amputation of limbs and stoning to death, which go directly back to the sacred texts of Islam, are in conflict with present-day principles of legal punishment, such as the inadmissibility of corporal punishment, nowadays accepted both in the Islamic world and the West. Islamic criminal law, and especially the law ofh.ud¯ ud, has a highly symbolic value and its introduction is regarded by many Muslims as the litmus test for a real Islamisation of the legal system. The Nimeiri regime in the Sudan, for instance, introduced flogging as a possible punishment for all offences mentioned in the Penal Code....

Words: 718 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Lottery

...Fisher 1 Stacey Fisher Professor Bailey English 1302 10 FEB 2014 “The Lottery” Shirley Jackson's “The Lottery” is a compelling story about rituals, symbolism, scapegoats, and the use of unnecessary violence to portray the cruelty of human nature. The story takes place on a warm June 27th day at 10am, the weather is clear and sunny. The townspeople of a small village of more than 300 gather for a yearly ritual, the lottery. The townspeople talk and joke as the children run and play. A black box is introduced and the people start the process of choosing the scapegoat this year, the one to be stoned to death. The turn of events in this story just goes to show you the rituals, symbolism, and the unnecessary violence in human society. Every year the lottery serves as a ritual and the black box is introduced. The black box symbolizes death to one of the villagers who will be the scapegoat for all. Mr. Summers, the lottery official follows some of these rituals by asking questions they all know the answers to. He did so, in my opinion, to keep it official and fair or uniform to all. Another ritual Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves performed was to fill the box the night before with the slips of paper to be used the next morning. They performed this year after year. The ritual itself involved the heads of the households to draw from the box and the one who drew the black dot would return his dot to the black box. They would count his family members and that......

Words: 691 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Soraya M. Paper

...Stoning and Muslims The thought of stoning someone is just appalling to me. In the Stoning of Soraya M., Soraya was stoned because she was accused of committing adultery. Although they did not have proof of this actually occurring, she was stoned anyway. This presents a problem for me personally. Although I am not from a place that condones stoning women for committing adultery, I do not think that this is a morally right thing to do. Even if a woman actually did commit adultery, in my opinion she still should not be stoned to death in front of the entire town. I also think that the male children of the town should not be able to participate in this kind of violence especially if it is their mother that is about to be stoned to death. I think that this practice is dehumanizing to the Iranian women in the village and anywhere else that stoning occurs. If they want to punish the women for committing adultery or allegedly committing adultery, maybe they could come up with another form of punishment that does not include the women having to be put to death. I thought that it was very sad to see Soraya have to go through the things that she endured before her death. No woman should to endure a husband being abusive towards them, and then to have to find out that he is cheating on her with a much younger woman. I do not blame her for not wanting to give him a divorce....

Words: 886 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Annotated Bibliography

...Student: Tutor: Course: Date: The Lottery: Annotated Bibliography Nebeker, Helen. The Lottery: Symbolic Tour de Force", in American Literature, Vol. 46, No. 1, March, 1974, pp. 100-07. Print. Nebeker uses this piece of literary work to argue that each and every name used in “The Lottery” has a special or distinct significance (3). The author hints at some of the larger meanings, especially through name symbolism. At the end of the second paragraph, for instance, Nebeker asserts that Jackson had indicated and presented the season. It was time of ancient sacrifice and excess, with stones representing the most ancient sacrificial weapons (2). Apart from that, the name Martin signifies monkey or ape. The above is juxtaposed intentionally with Dickie Delacroix and Harry Jones with an aim of urging the people to be aware of the Ape residing within them. Indeed, “Delacroix has been vulgarized in the story to “Dellacroy,” who becomes the first person to pick a large stone something that encourages others to stone Mrs. Hutchinson. The above is a clear indication of forces against change in the society. The presence of Old Man Martin further symbolizes conservatives whose role is to undermine any attempt to discard old traditions (3). In a nutshell, this is a reliable source for my research since Nebeker has made every possible attempt to identify various facts about the historical context of the short story. Jackson, Shirley. The Lottery. Mankato, Minnesota: The Creative......

Words: 1285 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

The Lottery Summary

...Some of us here at Shmoop happen to be from that fine state, and we'd like to assure all potential tourists that despite what you may read in "The Lottery," you don't have to worry about sudden stoning in the Green Mountain State. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. The anonymous, generic village in which "The Lottery" is set, in addition to the vicious twist the story gives to a common American ritual, enhance the contemporary reader's uneasy sense that the group violence in the story could be taking place anywhere and everywhere, right now. Jackson's skillful warping of a popular pastime has become an American classic, establishing her position as one of the great American horror writers. Why Should I Care? So, if you've ever been hanging out with a group of friends and done something truly stupid, you may have heard the refrain, "If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?" Your answer is probably "no," but Shirley Jackson disagrees. She thinks you – and anyone and everyone – would race off that bridge if your community decided it was necessary. According to her, while individuals may be great, a group of people is another animal. An animal that eats its own. "The Lottery" is a story of a small town basically devouring a member of its own community. It's one of the most horrifying texts you'll encounter, in high school or out of it. It's...

Words: 5311 - Pages: 22

Free Essay

The Lottery

...Whether it be get together on a certain day for a holiday or stoning someone to death annually, we all have them. Specifically the story titled “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, tackles the concept of traditions. The story is a dark one with a message that fairly blatant. “The Lottery” makes the readers question traditions that have been in place and if they are necessary. “The Lottery” proves to the readers that not all traditions are good traditions and should be continued. A very clear example of this comes from the end of the story when the reader finds out what the lottery actually is, “. . . they still remembered to use stones. . . A stone hit her on the side of the head” (Jackson 259). The people of the town continue this tradition of stoning one person to death every year. Jackson wants readers to understand this and to question some of their own traditions and why they still celebrate them. As previously mentioned some traditions are best left to rot and never be celebrated ever again. But what the author is saying is that if someone and their family are celebrating a tradition and have no idea why they are doing it, they should either stop said tradition or at least think on Dionne 2 it and figure out the reason for celebration. The story describes various aspects of their lottery and the people not knowing why they did it, “Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded. . . that had been used for generations” (Jackson 254)....

Words: 647 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Early English Law

...Our methods today for punishment no longer use barbaric methods such as hanging, stoning, burning, drowning, decapitation and the breaking of the neck for serious crimes nor do we amputate , blind, scalp and brand for the lesser crimes committed. Instead we send offenders to prison for the serious crimes and fine/community service for the lesser crimes committed. Abduction, murder, rape, robbery, damage to property and assault are still punishable today but adultery and slaves are no longer offences due to society changes. To exert social control early English law stated “any person who tried to escape pursuit or to act in self-defence could be cut down irrespective of the magnitude of the suspected offence or the age or sex of the suspected offender” this can be said for today if a suspect were to run from a crime. In Aethelbert’s codes that all men were not equal before the law, and even less so in the case of women does not extend to today as far as the law is today, all men and women are equal regardless of colour, race, age or gender. Early English law did not have prisons and fines were determined by social status, the higher up the person was the less they had to pay. The king did not have the expense in maintaining prisons as as far as he was concerned compensation rather than incarceration was eminently satisfactory method of dealing with crime....

Words: 519 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Lottery

...The Lottery Symbolism, Imagery & Allegory Sometimes, there’s more to Lit than meets the eye. The Lottery The lottery is like an 800-pound gorilla of symbols in this story. It's in the title, for Pete's sake. Where do we even begin? Well, let's start with the lottery as a way of upsetting reader expectations. After all, communities across America practice different annual traditions – Easter egg hunts (with origins in early fertility rituals), Christmas tree decorating (check out those patron trees of the Germanic tribes), or July 4th fireworks (well, that one just celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence ...). Anyway, our point is that we're all comfortable with yearly rituals – and it's often not widely known how these celebrations began. See how tradition obscures the history of public ritual? Anyway, back to the lottery. So, we associate lotteries with good things (winning cash prizes!) and annual celebrations also seem pleasant. We talk about this in "What's Up With the Title?" so we'll just say here that, like the blooming, cheerful village itself, there's nothing in the lottery that immediately suggests anything is wrong with this set-up. The lottery is, in fact, operating as an allegory of village life itself: at first, it seems harmless, but then we start to wonder what's going on with all the subdued smiles and piles of stones. So, if the lottery is an allegory of the community, its rules and proceedings must in some way correspond to......

Words: 2958 - Pages: 12

Free Essay


...As "The Lottery" deal with winnings by stoning people, but when the winner are chosen it is a different ball game. I. The Lottery Fictional story setting is normal people from a small village. A. The Lottery story takes place on the sunny summer day on June 27th. B. The place represents normal business places such as post office, schools, and a bank. C. The story takes places around ten o’clock in the morning. II. The main characters are the 300 people of the village. A. Mr. Summers is a jovial man that conducted the lottery. B. Tessie Hutchinson, who was stoned. C. Old man Warner, who was the oldest person in the village, III. The people from the village seem happy to be gathering around for the lottery that takes up to two hours since it was only about 300 people in town. IV. The most dangerous game story settings take place late at night in a yacht on an island, known as Ship-Trap Island. A. General Zaroff’s home. B. Jungle V. The main characters are the General Zaroff’s and Sanger Rainsford. A. Whitney B. Ivan VI. Sanger Rainsford thought hunting animals was all fun and games until he become the victim, and he had to fight for survival while playing a mouse and cat game with General Zaroff's. Analyzing the two short stories, The Lottery by Shirley Johnson and The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, It seems that both stories have no moral of what is right, from what is wrong....

Words: 837 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Poetics Lottery-Bourne

...One action is as the children arrive they began to pile stones that we later discover to be most crucial in the ending action, the stoning of Tessie. Following are incidents setting the stage for the drawing itself as the box is placed on the stool and Mr. Graves assumes his usual spot and the families continue to gather. Aristotle describes the plot as a painting with beautiful colors, laid on confusedly. The readers are brought into “The Lottery” with some confusion. The scene opens pleasantly on the morning of June 27th a clear and sunny day with children playing in the square. Jackson cleverly lures the readers into a relaxed state before shocking them in the end with a stoning assumingly to death. As the chalk outline of the portrait is shown by Tessie’s character when she first arrives good-naturedly with good odds of surviving the day. When Bill draws the slip of paper with the black dot that seals one of her family members fate Tessie quickly revels her moral purpose as an unsavory character by her action of trying to include as many family members as possible on the second drawing to increase her chances of survival. The Bourne Identity also reflects Aristotle’s Poetics in many ways. The incidents that Bourne survives through concurrently build both his character and the plot. The opening scene, in which the fishermen find Bourne, begins the painting by introducing intrigue to the palette....

Words: 496 - Pages: 2