What does stoning a person to death entail?


Canada's National Post created a two-page spread to explain the procedure for stoning condemned adulterer to death.

Since 1980, at least 150 men and women have been stoned to death in Iran, said Farshad Hoseini, head of the International Committee against Execution, who has compiled a report on the practice from media reports and human rights organizations.

However, he cautions in the report, "It should be pointed out that obtaining a true and complete list of the victims is extremely difficult, if not totally impossible, due to the regime's systematic censorship of such news."

He added, "Stoning in Iran is a political tool in the hands of an Islamic regime to oppress the society as a whole in one of the most savage ways. The overwhelming majority of the victims of stoning are women. Stoning in Iran is therefore a tool, among many such religious, oppressive tools, for keeping women in their place."

Iran's stone-age justice system


  1. Kind of reminds me of these graphic depictions of Abortion used to political ends.

    Just more terroristic intent.

    IOW, use of fear as means to political end.

  2. Yay, religion! Of course Islam is solely to blame, and it should be completely ignored that the Old Testament omnipotent, omniscient God that is still worshiped by Judaism and Christianity, demanded this exact punishment.

    I mean, c’mon, God totally changed his mind. What’s illogical about that; dude works in ~mysterious~ ways. God’s infallible; stoning was totally the correct thing to do back then, and only someone who isn’t infallible would think otherwise. amiright?

    1. Firstly, death by stoning under Jewish law was carried out very differently- the executioners (who were also the witnesses to the crime) pushed the condemned off a cliff and then dropped a boulder on them.

      More importantly, the standard of proof required is ridiculously high- high enough to effectively constitute abolition. Not only must there have been two witnesses (and only certain people can be witnesses) to the act, but the witnesses must have warned the accused that they were about to commit a capital crime seconds before it happened, and the accused must have acknowledged their warning then gone ahead and done it anyway!

      Basically, the idea is that in an ideal society, the death penalty may be appropriate in certain cases, but no human justice system is trustworthy enough to be allowed to execute someone.

      1. References? That certainly wasn’t how it was presented in the New Testament, which admittedly may not be accurate. Then again, the Torah and the Talmud have some historical and moral problems, too.

    2. Good point, it’s highly practiced in upper Egypt today, in the Christian and Muslim communities both. However, we are trying to portray “iran” as the enemy now, to wage war against them now too? Isn’t that right?

    1. Hey! What right do you have to judge another culture??
      Christians had witch burnings long before any of us were born!
      And, erm, there are racists and sexists in our society, tooooooo!
      We have no right to judge this.
      If any of this offends you, then you’re a racist.
      Stop judging their cultural practices!

      If we want to be multicultural and diverse, we need to welcome this sort of thing.

      Ok, sarcasm off.

      But cherry-picking aspects of other cultures that we like, is actually more bigoted, I think…
      It pains me to see multicultural apologists trip over themselves when confronted with stuff like this.
      IE: “We’re just as bad for allowing circumcision, so we have no right to look down on female genital mutilation”
      Or, perhaps “There are hate-crimes committed here, too, so that makes us just as bad” NO, this is state-sanctioned and encouraged, whereas people would be thrown in jail, or executed, if they got caught doing that here.

      1. We cherry-pick them as to what we wish to adopt as our own.

        Don Cherry’s Multikulti:

        Long live multi-culturalism: we are resplendent in our divergence.

        Motes and beams when it comes to means and methods: ’tis the death penalty, itself, which is the true horror.

      2. If the States which practice “death by stoning” were themselves multi-cultural, I doubt that we’d see anybody living there ever put to death by stoning.

        So how does the existence of this practice, in explicitly non-multi-cultural States, become a slur on multi-culturalism?

        1. Actually, Iran is quite multicultural.

          From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_Iran :
          “Iranians were not only open to other cultures, but freely adapted to all they found useful. Thus an eclectic cultural elasticity has been said to be one of the key defining characteristics of the Persian spirit and a clue to its historic longevity.[Milani, A. Lost Wisdom. 2004.ISBN 0934211906 p.15]
          …. There are different languages spoken in different parts of Iran. Mainly Persian in central Iran, Azerbaijani in northwest and central Iran, Kurdish in west part, Arabic in south west, Balochi in east and Turkmen mainly in north of Iran.”

    2. nah, same thing applies to any other form of the death penalty, dontchathink?
      be it Iranian stoning or the Texas lethal injection of juveniles (abolished in 2005)..

      kinda sucks no matter which method you chose..

  3. There is no evidence that this practice is “stone age”. It may not even be bronze age. Pretty much a modern, historical, invention.

  4. Is the “People Sentenced to Stoning” plot really necessary? I suppose it does enhance the rhetorical value of the article, but a statistician would probably consider it noise. Why does 2009 stand out? Was 2004 equally special?

  5. Not to take away from the barbarism of this practice… but this is no less civilized than lethal injection, electrocution, or hanging…

      1. I’m not really trying to troll – I just mean that anyone who condemns this practice sure as hell better be against the sanctioned execution practices in Western countries…

        1. So, in your attempt not to troll, you seriously think that death by torture as a sentence for people having unmarried sex or getting married without their parents’/villages’ blessings, or changing their religion, is logically and ethically and morally equivalent to quick and clean death sentences for mass murderers, etc…?

          You imply that these two types of government-sanctioned kills are ethically the same and no one who opposes one can logically endorse the other?

          1. I think you put words in Guido’s mouth. Execution is execution, for some people it doesn’t matter how you get around to it, all methods end in the same result.

            … now on the other hand, the reasons they use to justify execution are bat shit crazy. But on another hand maybe related closer to Western societies blasphemy is ridiculous, but murder is a good enough reason to execute someone. Take that all the way to the end of any argument, and any culture will kill someone else as long as the reasons are good enough for that culture.

            btw, cool graphic, I like graphical descriptions.

    1. Perhaps. Those indeed would stand out more if we did them say to adulterers and rape victims.

      Maybe it’s the fact that we don’t savagely kill swaths of our population due to our archaic social values that lets them fly under the radar in some states.

      Then again our prisons are swollen with people who are convicted of drug use so, there’s that.

      Still… yeah… not quite digging a hole and beating people to death with rocks is it?

    2. While dying is something I’d like to avoid, if I were to be executed, I would far, far, far rather be put in front of a firing squad/hanged/electrocuted/given a lethal injection rather than be stoned (or drawn and quartered, or thrown to the lions, or crucified, or impaled). Some of these deaths are not like the others! Mainly, they’re excruciating and drawn out, whereas the others are quick and relatively pain free (at least in comparison.)

      1. Actually, lions clamp onto your neck, cutting off air and blood flow to your brain very quickly. Being eaten by lions is my second choice, after riding a nuke and before jumping out of a plane sans parachute.

    3. The articles specifically require the use of stones small enough to not kill the target immediately. This is a significant difference.

  6. It is, when you go by degrees and by intent.

    All three methods you mean *are* barbaric, yes, but they are intended to put the victim to death quickly and painless.

    It’s the difference between hitting you child to „discipline“ it and using a bullwhip, for sure, but there is a difference.

    1. I disagree. Lethal injection, electrocution and hanging may not be designed to prolong suffering and spectacle, but they aren’t designed to be “quick and painless.” A shotgun blast to the back of the head is quick and painless. Strapping someone to 10kg of high explosives and blowing them up is quick and painless. Both are also very cheap to administer. But they’re unpleasant methods to administer and make executing people seem somehow cruel and barbaric, while the aforementioned methods are designed to give the appearance of civility and decorum, but looking painless and being painless are two different things.

      Except for hanging: hanging was originally a commoner’s punishment and was a slow, painful death by strangulation. The nobility had the right to death by beheading which was (usually) faster and less painful. During the French Revolution, the guillotine was meant to extend this benefit to all condemned. In the later part of the 19th Century, long drops were added to the hanging which were intended to break the victim’s neck with the intent of causing death in seconds rather than minutes.

      Traditional hanging is most certainly a painful and drawn out proposition. If done correctly, long drop hanging, lethal injection and electrocution could be quick and painless, but they could all potentially be quite excruciating. Animal welfare laws probably wouldn’t allow any of those methods to be used to slaughter livestock.

      1. I think electrocution is used to slaughter livestock- or at least to stun them before they’re killed. Lethal injection is out mainly because we don’t want poisons in things we’re going to eat…

    1. I disagree.

      I’d rather be shot in the head than drawn and quartered, for instance.

      Not that I support the death penalty.

      But no, all death is not created equal. That’s a fact.

    2. “I don’t think the dead care how they died.” That may be true, but the *dying* care quite a bit, especially if the choice is between 2 hours of stoning and instant, painless death.

    3. I utterly disagree with you. I care very much how I die, way more than I actually care about being alive vs. dead. Everything about this manner of execution employs procedures that tap into my greatest fears. Confinement, having my face covered, repeated assaults against which I am helpless, being in the earth.

      There are many other ways I would choose to die. I am not so worried about being dead; and very worried about having to be alive and utterly terrified.

      1. Well all right then: those who hold to the “deterrence” reasoning for the State’s use of the death penalty would be pleased by your reaction: for they would use the death penalty to terrify those, who might otherwise be tempted into killing another.

        I abhor the death penalty, and oppose it in all of its forms.

        But I wonder at those who support the existence of a death penalty, but who would yet diminish its effectiveness, by strictly limiting its use to the most “humane methods”: for by doing so, they immediately diminish the terror of the death penalty, not least in the minds of those, whom they most wish to impress by the imposition of it – those who are the potential killers amongst us.

        IMHO it’s like changing your mind while being half-way through a step: the humanity of the method of the imposition of the death penalty, may result in its being imposed in more cases, than it otherwise would need to be.

        If the object of the exercise of the death penalty is to deter possible future conduct, then the circumstances, that the exaction of the penalty is public and horrifying to behold, and that the experience of it is both painful and ignominious to the condemned, would seem to constitute “features”, rather than “bugs”.

        But I personally am against this righteous calculus of death, wherever it is found. That I do not understand it, is immaterial to my opinion of it.

        Screw the death penalty:


        1. Just to clarify, I never implied whether I was for or against the death penalty. I only stated that how someone dies or is killed matters beyond the fact that it resulted in death.

          1. Well, as to that, I agree. And I did not take your previous expressions to be any indication of your feelings as to the death penalty itself.

            I only meant to amplify, that the manner of judicially-imposed death, in addition to the mere fact of it, matters to not only the expiring person, but to the witnesses of it. As your expressions indicated that it does for you, personally.

            The death penalty is in fact now and has always been, a death explicitly, and from the outset of its planning, brought about as a demonstration.

            And all demonstrations are aimed at witnesses.

  7. comparing brutality if just infantile. seriously people. as your mother used to say, two wrongs don’t make a right.

    stoning is just plain fucking barbaric.

  8. I’m all for multiculturalism and respect toward other cultures. But that must work both ways, or it’s merely subjugation in the guise of tolerance.

    “You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.”
    – Charles James Napier

    1. As to your quote — very clever, except a poor woman gets to be burnt to death, her murderer gets a far gentler death, and somebody gets to stand there feeling quite satisfied with himself for having done away with those silly barbarians.

  9. Don’t they do something thing similar in Saudi Arabia? Oh wait…were beating the war drums for Iran not the Saudis, I forgot. The Saudis are our Friends….

  10. The last picture indicates that those throwing stones tend to be men, but are they sure these are not women wearing false beards and talking in lowered voices?

  11. So, according to the article, those who wriggle free for an adultery stoning are allowed to survive. My question then is: Why isn’t this a reality show?

  12. What this shows is the brutality happily employed by those that make the rules.
    It’s really as simple as that. Whatever it takes to keep ’em down and in line. However you’d like to look at it.
    Gigantic swaths of this planet may as well be living in the middle ages. But that knows no boundary..
    Sometimes I think we’ve only been saved that here (In the “west”) by infrastructure and knowledge (whatever that is). Which is why propaganda is so important to our masters. But that’s another topic.

  13. Since the bible clearly says that adulterers must be stoned to death, I’m surprised that there’s no groundswell of activism from the godbots in the USA to bring back this penalty. Perhaps God must only be obeyed when He talks about gay people.

    I’m surprised though that only the Iranians are getting pressured on this. Saudi Arabia does the same thing, but for some reason we never hear about that.

  14. I teach my 12th-grade English classes during our Post-Colonialism unit – that although the colonialists more often than not were intent on destroying most native traditions under the racist auspices of “white man’s burden” and “civilizing the savages” – there were and continue to be problematic native traditions that are better left forgotten. The Nigerian novel, “Things Fall Apart” is a good example of all of the above.


  15. The variables around this execution method are horrifying to consider. A well organized crowd with a good quantity of stones would seem to be able to get the job done quickly. Conversely I could see how the sentence could be horribly prolonged (perhaps maliciously) by a smaller group of “executioners.”

    I wonder how long unti the poor victim loses consciousness? And how does the doctor make an expert opinion through layers of cloth?

    @dequeued : agreed, especially since my circumcision (performed later in life) was a blessed relief from pain & inflammation!

  16. Look, putting someone to death by legal injection for killing numerous people in horrific ways is WAY different than stoning a woman’s head until she is dead because she either willingly showed herself to man apart from her husband (who was probably brutish to begin with) or was raped.


    Just like throwing someone in jail for raping or killing should be different than throwing someone in jail for smoking a joint.

  17. Public stoning, like religion had its time where it was necessary to the society which revolved around it. Stoning was meant to curb criminals and criminality where law was just a shaky ideal and to scare people into behaving within the law.

    The question now arises to the ones doing the stoning, the ones throwing the stones, “Why are you doing this?” it’s not a law, it’s not something that has to be done if no one shows up to do it. Naive, I know, but rather than deal with religion and a ethnic group we can’t ignore the reasoning behind why someone would willingly do that to someone.

    Maybe that’s why the sheet is wrapped around the person, not to ‘quicken’ the burial process but do you think the same type of mentality would drive the thrower if they could actually see who they’re throwing a stone at, be able to see the pain in their face and the life drain out of it?

    And who would willingly do something knowing that if they’re caught, they’ll be stoned?! What drives a person to take a risk like that? Sure, they’re showing the outcome, but how is the proceeding for this? Right now the way they’re showing this you’d think everyone yells “Adulterer!” someone grabs a sheet and someone else digs a hole. Are the legal proceedings similar to the Western world?

  18. Good graphic, but it misses on not showing the spreading blood stains, and the body of the person stoned slumping over…


  19. This is why scripture must not to be taken literally. Judeo-Christian scripture teaches that it is right to impale a man an a woman from different religions who get married with a spear, as Phineas did.

    It is interesting how the guidelines for stoning state that it should be done as humanely as possible, like our procedures for hanging, electrocution, and lethal injection.

  20. It is so weird to me that something so barbaric would be governed by Articles and Codes.

    Yes, I know we have the death penalty, too, but isn’t one of our unwritten codes “swift and painless”?

    Not that I condone it. Or like it.

  21. Intercultural respect only flies as long as someone isn’t being harmed as a matter of culture.

    Ideally, all capital punishment should be banned. But for God’s sake, if you must insist on killing someone, put them out of their misery quickly. “20 minutes to 2 hours”? I think I might rather burn to death, God forbid.

    I can read about a lot of Human-Human violence with detachment and impartiality, and viewed the infographics hoping to come away educated. But I just feel ill.


  22. “Stoning in Iran is a political tool in the hands of an Islamic regime”

    …and the reporting of stoning in Iran is a political tool in the hands of a Christian one.

  23. To me, the worst aspect is that many times the stoning itself is carried out by a bunch of people who know the person, and from what it seems, enthusiastically so.
    Also, there’s a small hint of hypocrecy in the act, being the victim tied, his/her face covered.

    1. This is peculiar aspect. Although I agree with the arguments that you can’t blame the whole culture, stoning is an example where the state can’t be solely at fault; there must be citizens who believe in it. Stoning is a horrifyingly community-centered form of punishment.

  24. It seems that a lot of the worlds problems stem from the middle east. Islam, Judaism and Christianity. What untold and recorded horrors, crimes and atrocities have been and are still being committed in their names? The thing that strikes me as being somewhat funny is that both the Arabs and the Jews are from the same stock, they are all semites, both acknowledge Abraham as the first prophet, and yet they have spent centuries fighting each other. I don’t agree with their lack of tolerance, guess that makes me an anti-semite?

    I really do think that these nations that want to live in the middle ages should be allowed to do so. Isolate them completely, no internet, no travel in planes and cars (security problem solved). Complete disengagement from them. One can dream.

    1. I’m sure you meant Christianity vs Islam – the last thousand years make for a delightful indictment of humanity with the excessively rare bubble of convivencia.

      spot on about the Jews and Arabs – the greatest irony is that israelis have more in common with lebanese and palestinians than americans (specially the christian right), and vice versa. if only both sides could get their act together, they could implement a kinda MidEast Monroe (?) Doctrine and end Western interference in the rgion.

  25. They should really be performing executions humanely and with class and dignity. Like in the United States.

  26. Oh, somebody is bad-mouthing Iran again? Let me just take off my tin-foil hat here so I can hear you better.

    Propaganda by lying is amateur-hour. A better form of propaganda is to selectively shove true facts into the media pipeline, but to select only those facts that reflect most negatively on the object of your ire. So, when you hear something in the media about Iran, don’t just ask yourself, “is this true,” but ask yourself, “why am I being presented with this piece of information and not some other piece, and why is it being presented to me now?” A whole bunch of bad things about Iran have started popping up in the media in the last 4 years or so. Is that because Iran has suddenly gotten much, much worse than it was, or is there another reason?

    I’m not particularly pro- or anti- Iran. I don’t know much about Iran. I’m just anti-propaganda.

  27. Yes multiculturalism is to blame.

    Part of the political project of respecting diversity and difference, recognising that liberty takes many forms and allowing people to practice their customs is to advocate stoning women to death.

    Oh wait, no it’s not.

    Here are some much maligned African countries that execute less people per capita than the mighty free and brave USA:


    You do realise that every other western liberal democracy views the US in a similar way? What percentage of American’s murdered by the state were poor? How many were non-white? How many were actually guilty? I’ve seen video of both a stoning (was different to the above example in that the woman was not buried) and an electrocution. They’re not that different.

    But yes, respecting other cultures sucks. Every single American is a brutal savage because they have the death penalty.


    Even the Americans who were executed by the state, even the Americans who campaign to abolish the death penalty, even the Americans who work pro bono to prove the innocence of death row inmates.

    Starting to see why taking extreme and contentious examples of “culture” and tarring whole countries, peoples, ethnicities and religions with the same brush is not the best analytical tool?

    It’s called bigotry.

  28. I was thinking about this, and I wanted to see if I could provide some perspective on some of the requirements. I’m not trying to make an argument for or against stoning, just to show how things that, at first, seem arbitrary or barbaric, may have a good reason behind them.

    For example, the requirement that witnesses throw the first stone seems to me like it might originally have been intended to prevent bearing false witness. You can’t just lie and then let the state take care of your dirty work; you have to be willing to personally do the person in. Most humans (even archaic, barbaric, barely-evolved ones like… what country am I supposed to be hating on again?) will be more hesitant to personally kill another person, versus lying about them to a judge.

    What about the requirement that rocks be neither too large nor too small? The too small is obvious: you don’t want to unnecessarily hurt the person. Why not too large then? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just toss one big rock and be done with? I think that there is an analogy here to firing squads. Firing squads involved multiple soldiers because then it would not be clear which soldier actually fired the fatal bullet. In some cases, not all of the rifles even had live rounds. The idea is that no single soldier is killing the condemned person, and this overcomes the normal human urge not to kill someone else. The requirement that stones not be too large may have been designed to prevent a situation where one person throws a stone, kills the condemned, and then has that “on his head” forever. By ensuring that it will take multiple stones to kill the condemned person, it ensures that the moral responsibility for the killing is spread amongst all the throwers.

    Who knows how much all of this actually relates to stonings as they are practiced today, and furthermore, who knows if any of it is actually accurate. It’s all just supposition, intended to provide a possible context other than, “Those brutes. Let’s bomb them.”

    1. There’s a requirement that witnesses throw the first stone?
      What happens to the condemned, if a witness willing to do that cannot be found, or does not otherwise come forward?

      That’s a question for an Iranian lawyer or judge, I guess.

    2. Has anyone in the thread so far suggested that we bomb Iran?

      The petty rationalisations that you’ve stated are pretty obviously implied by the listed procedures themselves. But for all its stated principles, there is no denying that this act is designed for a specific effect: to give a (accused) sexually promiscuous individual a slow, frightening, painful death at the hands of a mob.

      With that in mind, implying that there are any elements of harm reduction is a sick joke.

    3. For example, the requirement that witnesses throw the first stone seems to me like it might originally have been intended to prevent bearing false witness. You can’t just lie and then let the state take care of your dirty work; you have to be willing to personally do the person in.

      You fail to take in consideration that in these cases, a woman’s testimony is not worth that of a man. Cases of ‘adultery’ are often really cases of rape where there weren’t any MALE witnesses available aside from the rapist himself to testify on behalf of the woman. You will notice that women stoned to death are never wealthy, notable women with ressources and an entourage to defend themselves. They are usually destitute and have really nobody really caring to stand on their side.

      Also, by your logic (and great trust in people’s inherent humanity over dogma), how could you explain the prevalence of honour killings? How could people suddenly, violently murder their own child, a child they have fed, protected and nurtured from birth, in the name of something as figurative and intangible as ‘family honour’?

      No, I’m not saying (or believing) that these cultures are morally inferior by nature, or that we should “bomb them”. Our own society has only just emerged from treating women as second-class, impaired, infantile beings (and we’re not totally squared yet) and this is a progression I feel absolutely no ‘white guilt’ to insist on. I simply can’t endorse such a systematic hatred and violence, disproportionately directed towards females.

      1. How could people suddenly, violently murder their own child

        Human society throughout history has largely regarded children as disposable. They’ve only started taking on value since we stopped having twelve of them. In dowry cultures, daughters are a liability. Then they get married and murdered for dowry insufficiency. Even in the First World, lots of children aren’t treated with any humanity. Our relationship to anyone weaker than us, even our close relatives, doesn’t hold up to close inspection. We get upset when the gerbil eats her babies, but we’re a pretty horrible species ourselves.

        1. Exactly. That’s why I don’t share Loraan’s belief that the rule of witnesses throwing stones at the victim (or, sorry, the ‘accused’) is much of a deterrent. Even something as intimate and personal as ‘parental love’ can be corrupt and fickle.

    4. Re: rock size requirement.

      Rocks that are very small will float on water, and are only appropriate for the stoning of witches.

  29. So many women; so few stones.

    Where are the feminists?

    Hats off to Napier, I remember that quote very well indeed. Thanks Ernunnos

    Just curious. How many men escape death from stoning, as opposed to women? Burying women deeper so they can’t escape is obviously a sign of ‘respect’ in some way, no?

  30. GeekMan, I’d have been the first to suggest it, if I thought it would do any good. However, knowing some Iranians and Iraqis who see themselves as Persian, hate the regimes they’re forced to live under, and have no real way to protest (apart from being shot at during election time), I’d probably not go down the route of bombing a whole nation for the foibles of a few old, infantile, misogynistic old farts. Maybe go for selected assassination? Then again, everything that goes wrong in Iran is blamed on Western Conspiracy ™ anyway, so why bother?

    Maybe if we just nuke Jerusalem? One less thing to fight over.

    Just as a little aside. Business interests in the US and Europe have no real political or religious aspirations. Making a profit is paramount, so anything that conflicts with that really isn’t going to happen.

    So, no nuking Mecca. M’kay?

    1. I’d probably not go down the route of bombing a whole nation for the foibles of a few old, infantile, misogynistic old farts.

      We have a few states in the US which wouldn’t last long if we were that trigger happy.

  31. A quick comment to a number of posters who seem to suggest that this is article is somehow part of the right-wing propaganda campaign to start a US war with Iran; the National Post is a right-leaning Canadian newspaper (which probably places it on par with the Huffington Post in the American spectrum, :) I kid), so I doubt it has anything to do with whipping up war sentiment in the US – our general opinion is the US never pays any attention to anything we say or do (and in my experience it’s fairly true.)

  32. Yeah, I don’t agree with the death penalty. But Islamophobia rather than humanitarian concerns are what motivates this graphic. I can guarantee we will never see the national post give a similar splashy treatment to lethal injection (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7269-execution-by-injection-far-from-painless.html), electrocution, hanging, etc. in the U.S. That said, they did do a nice graphic on waterboarding and even admitted that “some experts” consider the practice to be torture. They didn’t mention that some experts means pretty much everyone except the Bush/Cheney crew. I don’t mind moralizing as long as it’s consistent.

  33. A savage practice to be sure, but here’s the thing about the National Post. They’re kind of tools with a massive bug up their asses over Iran, so anything they say should be held suspect. For example, a few years back they falsely accused Iran of forcing Jews to wear badges. Kind of a big fuck up.


    Re this infographic, I wonder about the stoners depicted wearing masks. Is this a fact, or something they just made up to reference Palestinians, another group they hate?

  34. Stoning to death is not my cup of tea. It’s pretty funny though that Death Penalty is still legal in USA. I happen to misunderstand how US values life in contradiction with Iran.

  35. Oh oh, I smell an invasion coming, partly because this is old news. Are we going to go to Iran on the pretext of “rescuing” these women?

  36. is it just me, or do the rock throwers image used in panel 6 and 8 look like its been lifted from palestinian ‘intifada’ style rock throwers? i’m hoping thats just laziness.

    i do hope the iranians are able to get rid of the current regime without being forced down the same path as the iraqis.

  37. So, if you can wriggle out, you can go free. If you’re a man, you’re burried to the waist, probably wearing pants. And your girlfriend is buried to the neck, probably in an ankle-legnth gown. Who do you suppose it more likely to wriggle out?

  38. It took up to Comment #20 before someone pointed out that it’s much much worse in Saudi but it’s the Iranians we’re mad at. The Pentagon has a 50 billion dollar propaganda budget. We’re gearing up for the 3rd (or if the Norks pull it off wrong, the 4th) war during our Nobel Peace Prize Winning President’s term. Get both sides angry at The Enemy and most everyone falls in line.

  39. Two things. One, the news outlet. Two, the insanity of stoning.

    First, the National Post is widely known in Canada for being fully committed to–specifically right-wing, ‘Likudnik’–Zionism, and often features blatantly pro-Israeli stories splashed on the front page of their paper. (As someone mentioned above, this once included a completely false report about Iran requiring Jews to wear yellow stripes: http://www.regrettheerror.com/2006/05/25/national-post-apologizes-for-incorrect-iran-story/.Co-incidentaly, i was in a Canadian synagogue for a Bar Mitzvah the day after that piece was published, and the Rabbi gave a vitriolic war-drum sermon about Iran, based directly on the article. But i digress.)

    Most NP readers i know are either upper-middle class Canadian Zionists, or are indifferent or unaware of the paper’s particular political bent, because the financial writing is good.

    This first point explains, as some Boing Boing readers have poignantly asked, why we’re seeing this now, and why specifically about Iran (not, for instance, Saudi Arabia, or the US)… and why some of the stoners look remarkably like rioting Palestinians. They’re conflated in the authors/illustrators’ heads.

    Two, stoning. It’s abusurd in this day and age.

    We have to think about when and under what conditions the injunction to stoning was actually created. Simply put: small, desert-dwelling societies, with no guns. This was, essentially, a way to deter crime in the absence of a State, while precluding the tendency to tribe-decimating blood feuds that could result from a less crowd-sourced form of execution. That said, we are clearly no longer living in such conditions (except, maybe, for some nomadic tribes in Central Asia).

    The issue here is that Iranian society was so traumatized by a) the west’s forced removal of its secular democratic Prime Minster (Mossadeq) and b) the late Shah’s idiodsyncratic abuses and failed promises, that they turned toward revolution. In the 1908s, the clergy did away with their leftist co-revolutionaries and consolidated power. They then began experimenting with the notion of applying 7th century Arabic customary law (the Quran being a modification to local practices at the time aimed at promoting political unity) to a 20th c. state of 10s of millions of people with access to modern technology.

    Therein lies the ridiculousness. Mistaking a context-bound modification of ancient custom for 21st c. religious injunction.

    Obviously, despite Iran’s vast fossil fuel reserves, none of this merits yet another Middle Eastern invasion (Iran has a population of over 70m and is about double the size of France).

  40. You know, people keep implying that this sort of thing should negate respecting other cultures. It does not. As someone with a BA in anthropology, I’ve heard all of the rhetoric about cultural relativism, and I can tell you that nowhere in that does it say you have to have a moral agreement with anything you are witnessing. It simply states that you must do your best to understand it from within the framework of that society’s own culture and mores, not your own. Understanding is not the same as condoning. For example, I understand why certain people, living in poverty, would commit infanticide by neglect — resources are scarce, and they are maximizing them by sharing them with stronger, less sickly children. I do not, however, accept this as just the status quo, and I believe something should be done to reduce infanticide (and the apparent
    “need” for it) in these societies.
    Similarly, cultural relativism tells me that stoning adulterers exists in Iranian and other fundamentalist societies throughout the Middle East because it reinforces patriarchal, tribal, and governmental authority, authority grounded in strict religious principles/laws. Morally, I am sickened and outraged that this and related practices occur, that people can be so inhumane as to inflict that sort of pain and terror on another human being.
    I am all for multicultural acceptance, but not when it causes or condones causing human suffering.

  41. I’m British and think that the death sentence should only be used when a person is GUILTY of something terrible;paedophiles or murderers for example.This is murder,this woman was proved to be innocent but because she’s a woman she couldn’t possibly have been innocent.

    I have great respect for different cultures but this is disgusting and anyone who condones this should be ashamed of themselves.

    “They who have no sins can cast the first stone” I think the phrase is.

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