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Told to pass this on.

This story has been getting a lot of coverage in the UK lately, and the general message from each individual report is to make sure it is heard by as many people as possible. I was unaware if this shocking incident had received any publicity in the US.
I am not anti islamic, I believe as strongly as anyone that freedom of religious belief is an important fundamental right; but this story has nothing to do with religion. The men responsible for this appaling miscarriage of justice (read that as murder) may use their religious beliefs as a shield, but that only makes them the worst kind of hypocrite.
I did not post this to start a debate, but this is an important story and I would ask you to read and make sure as many people as possible know about this awful incident.
Yes. I have read this and also viewed video of actual stoning carried out by Iran. Brutal--unbelievable--appalling.

I have seen images of American torturing Iraqis in Abu Ghraib prison. I have read stories of Americans executing mentally deficient individuals. Brutal--unbelievable--appalling.

What is important for us to realize is that somewhere deep in our human-ness, is a very dark side. It actually exists in ALL of us. Hopefuly, the expression of this dark side, if you will, can be suppressed by enlightenment, open-mindedness, and a good heart. Unfortunately, under certain levels of strain, people will act very badly and its not just the perpetrators fault. For instance with the Abu Ghraib thing--psychology will demonstrate that if you take untrained individuals, strain them with safety concerns, little sleep, and few comforts and them put them in a postion of unlimited authority over others--they will act like those in Abu Ghraib acted--its human nature and to ask those people to act any differently is to ask them to not be human. If you brutally brainwash a boy with religious fundamentalism (whether Islamic or even Judeo-Christian), he might develop the ability as a man to put a noose around a girl's neck and hang her for what really amounts to nothing more than spite.

What we must realize is that there are good people everywhere and some bad. A few are bad by design but many are bad because of strains and other negative adaptions. We must realize that the potential for bad rests in all of us and also in oiur neighbors and we must do what we can to help this to be suppressed in all of us as well.

The story that you referenced is appalling. Still, let's realize for a moment that most Iranians if not strained by violent religious brainwashing are nice people who love their children as we love ours. Let's not use stories like this to get our blood boiling which will only encourage us to up the violence ante. We should use stories like this to empathize with this whose freedom is suppressed, to link up with like-minded good individuals, and to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Like I said I have no anti islamic sentiment, and posted this atory to raise awareness of the intolerable shariah system in Iran. Before the 9/11 attacks I was fortunate enough to travel extensively in that part of the world, an opportunity that may never present itself again. Obviously, there are sensible precautions to be taken by any traveller, but the people in this part of the world are the personification of graciousness and hospitality. Although I never made it as far as Iran, I spent a great deal of time in other "rogue nations" such as Afghanistan and Morocco. The image of these countries that is presented in the media is a far cry from the warm and welcoming people one meets when travelling there. Indeed, the vast majority of tourist guides advise one to avoid the Rif Mountains entirely, I lived there for two months in the home of a man I had never met before, we met in the market stalls of Ketama (another no go zone, apparently) and having asked him for directions was taken back to his house and treated with hospitality the like of which I had never encountered before or since.

MJB having read your post more thoroughly I agree with what you say entirely. However, I do not think we can blame religious brainwashing for the actions of the judge in this case. Like you see in all religions this man used his belief systems to justify an act without justification. This is not exclusive to Islam (and I would be mortified to think you felt that was what I was implying) for example the hard line Christian right who use their beliefs to justify acts of intolerable bigotry. But what is important is that these men who practice religion in this way are identified and prevented from using their beliefs to persecute others

Perhaps in some large part I am responding in response to my own emotions when I first read this. My first gut feeling (the id) was--Iranians are animals, who cares if we turn the desert into a nice shiny giant piece of glass or world largest parking lot! Then I let the emotions settle and let the civilized part of me do the thinking. I first read the story on the BBC website and its very polarizing and aside from the father gives little credit to the positive that must exist somewhere in Iran.

Unfortunately, the news and opinions out of that part of the world are very polarized. I see black and white but not grey shades. Statesment like "Its all the Israelis faults--they monsters...or...Its all the Iranians and Syrians faults they're just religious fundamentalists who will either destroy or dominates...or...Its all Americas fault all she cares about is the Jewish people and oil" seem to predominate. While these statements are comforting in that which ever one you choose it tells you exactly whose right and whose wrong--who it is okay to kill and who it isn't; in reality, the situation is far more complex--there's plenty of right and wrong going around.

So, I ramble and apologize. AJS, I was responding as much to my own emotional response as anything else and I am sure that I am not alone in responding the way I did--just wanted to point out the danger of what is perhaps an initial emotional response to reading a story about a 16 year old girl being hanged by the neck until dead with her only "crime" being the victim of a rape.

No system is perfect, but I do question a society that continues to adhere to a religious/legal system of this nature.

Individuals can be warm, welcoming and intelligent - at the same adhering to radical views (subjegation of women, death to Israel, suicide bombing, etc.) - these are not mutually exclusive traits/beliefs.

I personally and unapologetically object to a system that allows what appears to have happened in this case to happen - as well as those who support the maintenance of that system.

Also, sometimes the emotional response is the correct one - if you want to rationalize/justify/expain something you will - but there's no need to apologize for being disgusted by particular events, especially one as reprehensible as in this case.

Anyhow, just my two cents - which may generate some critical comments - at least we live in countries where we can disagree with one another (not to mention our respective governements) without worring about being lashed, having limbs amputated or being publicly executed.
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