The Anti-Iran Campaign: Hillary Clinton


Hillary Clinton to Iran: ‘Stop using death penalty so much Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday expressed concern about the case of a Iranian woman sentenced to death for adultery. Only China uses the death penalty more’.

– Since 1976 there were 1221 executions in the U.S.

– Senator Clinton of New York was the top Democratic recipient of pro-Israel funds. (Joshua Frank – January 3, 2006 – ‘Hillary Clinton, AIPAC and Iran’ –


This undated image made available by Amnesty International in London shows Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a mother of two who is facing the punishment of stoning to death in Iran, on charges of adultery. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned what Iranian human rights activists say is expanding use of execution in Iran.

Amnesty International/AP


About kruitvat

I am working for the Belgian human rights association 'Werkgroep Morkhoven' which revealed the Zandvoort childporn case (88.539 victims). The case was covered up by the authorities. During the past years I have been really shocked by the way the rich countries of the western empire want to rule the world. One of my blogs: «Latest News Syria» (WordPress)/ Je travaille pour le 'Werkgroep Morkhoven', un groupe d'action qui a révélé le réseau pornographique d'enfants 'Zandvoort' (88.539 victims). Cette affaire a été couverte par les autorités. Au cours des dernières années, j'ai été vraiment choqué par la façon dont l'Occident et les pays riches veulent gouverner le monde. Un de mes blogs: «Latest News Syria» (WordPress)/ Ik werk voor de Werkgroep Morkhoven die destijds de kinderpornozaak Zandvoort onthulde (88.539 slachtoffers). Deze zaak werd door de overheid op een misdadige manier toegedekt. Gedurende de voorbije jaren was ik werkelijke geschokt door de manier waarop het rijke westen de wereld wil overheersen. Bezoek onze blog «Latest News Syria» (WordPress) ------- Photo: victims of the NATO-bombings on the Chinese embassy in Yougoslavia
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10 Responses to The Anti-Iran Campaign: Hillary Clinton

  1. kruitvat says:

    Hillary Clinton to Iran: stop using death penalty so much
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday expressed concern about the case of a Iranian woman sentenced to death for adultery. Only China uses the death penalty more.

    By Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer / August 10, 2010

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday added her voice to the growing international chorus condemning what Iranian human rights activists say is expanding use of execution as almost routine punishment in Iran.

    The high-profile case Secretary Clinton cited in a statement is that of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman who was handed a sentence of death by stoning after she was found guilty of adultery.

    The Iranian government later announced she would not face death by stoning. But Clinton said that other cases where Iranians face execution for “exercising their right to free expression” after the disputed June 2009 elections, or for homosexuality, suggest that many legal cases in Iran are not proceeding “with the transparency or due process enshrined in Iran’s own constitution.”

    Both President Obama and Clinton were sharply criticized for remaining tight-lipped during the tumultuous days of public protest following Iran’s presidential election in June 2009. Human rights activists accused the Obama administration of overlooking widely broadcast evidence of rights abuses so as not to jeopardize Obama’s policy of seeking dialogue with the government in Tehran over its nuclear program.

    In the president’s defense, administration officials said Obama and other policymakers were concerned that any expression of support for the election protesters could be used by the government against them.

    The administration has recently insisted that the offer of dialogue is still open to Tehran, but apparently the lengthening string of showcased executions and imminent executions prompted Clinton to break the administration’s silence.

    “The United States urges the Iranian government to halt these executions in accordance with its obligations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners an imprisoned human rights defenders,” Clinton said.

    Last month the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation, which monitors the Iranian media for death-penalty cases, reported that 135 executions were known to have been carried in Iran so far this year. The foundation listed 399 known executions in Iran in 2009, second in the world behind China (and well ahead of the US, often singled out among Western countries for the use of capital punishment, which carried out 52 last year).

    Last month seven Iranians were executed on charges of drug trafficking, although rights advocates say such charges are often leveld against citizens the government is seeking to silence for other reasons.

    In addition to Ms. Ashtiani, who has been in prison in Tabriz in northwestern Iran since 2005, Clinton singled out the cases of Jafa Kazemi, Mohammad Haj Aghaei, and Javad Lari, whom she said face “imminent execution” for protesting the 2009 election.

  2. kruitvat says:


    Global News Blog

    Iran opposition rallies on complaints of torture, deaths in detention
    Growing unease over conditions of detention for hundreds is helping opposition organize, and exposing some splits in Iran’s conservative ranks.

    By Dan Murphy, Staff writer / July 27, 2009

    After the son of a prominent Iranian politician died in police custody last week, 69 leading reformers sent an unusually harsh and direct letter to the nation’s clerical establishment, complaining of torture by the regime “reminiscent of the dark days of the Shah.”

    The signatories of the July 25 letter included former President Mohammed Khatami, reformist cleric Mehdi Karoubi, and Mir Hossein Mousavi, the man whose supporters say had Iran’s June election stolen from him by hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    They warned of torture being used to extract false confessions from reformist activists, and said that they’d received “disturbing news in recent days about the physical and mental health of several of the detainees.” (A rough translation of the letter is available on Mr. Mousavi’s facebook page.)
    Joe Stork, who covers Iran and other Middle Eastern countries for Human Rights Watch, says his group is certainly concerned about deaths in detention, but sees no evidence of a flood of such deaths.

    However, despite government intimidation that has “left people frightened about communicating with groups like ours,” he says the scope of arbitrary detention in Iran now is a great worry. “

    “There are lots of people who have been detained for many weeks now that have without access to lawyers or family, and what we’re hearing is rather alarming about their condition,’’ he says. “It’s hard to say anything for certain. There’s a real effort on the part of the government there to make sure that information doesn’t get out, in particular, complaints about detention and so forth.”

    On Monday, Mr. Mousavi called for ongoing protests and continued to press for use of Tehran’s Grand Mosala, a sprawling public prayer location, this Thursday to commemorate the “martyrs” killed by pro-government security forces and militiamen in June.

    The government has been reluctant to give such permission until now, well aware that mass mourning in Shiite Islam is a powerful tool of political mobilization. Thursday would mark the 40th day since 20 protesters were killed, an important milestone in the Shiite ritual mourning cycle.

    The death – many Iranians are calling it a murder – that helped spur this weekend’s letter was of Mohsen Ruholamini, who was arrested at a July 9 protest in Tehran. Last Tuesday, his family was informed of his death, and he was buried on Friday. Mr. Ruholamini, who was 25, was apparently healthy when taken into custody, reformists say.

    Underscoring the equal-opportunity nature of regime brutality at this point is the fact that his father was an adviser to Mohsen Rezai, a conservative presidential candidate and a former commander in the Revolutionary Guard, a military branch founded to protect the ideological purity of the Islamic revolution.

    The Iranian Student News Agency, a national newswire run by university students and partially funded by the state, on Monday quoted a senior prison official as saying that Ruholamini was ill with meningitis before being sent to Evin prison, and that he died of the illness.

    Opposition activists and some members of parliament say beatings he received in custody led to his death.

    That death – and the detention of hundreds of students, lawyers, and journalists – in crowded and filthy conditions appears to at least be creating some cracks in the coalition of hard-liners that backed Ahmadinejad in the election.

    Conservative member of parliament Ali Motahari told the Tehran Times on Monday that Iran’s intelligence and interior ministers need to make a full accounting to parliament about what’s happening to Iran’s political prisoners, and said there’s a strong movement among lawmakers to have the men fired.

    President Ahmadinejad has also been at odds with his intelligence minister. On Monday, the head of Iran’s judiciary also called for some political prisoners to be released.

    Evin Prison in Tehran has long been a house of horrors for Iranians, part of the reason regime opponents appear to be gaining traction over the issue

    It was where the Savak, the secret police of the shah, devised ever-more sophisticated ways to torture the regime’s political opponents until the Islamic Revolution deposed the shah in 1979. And it was where many Iranians’ dreams for justice and freedom from such arbitrary treatment under clerical rule died, as hundreds of political prisoners were executed and tortured there as the revolution consolidated its position in the early 1980s. (here’s a Monitor dispatch on brutality and overcrowding at Evin from 1982.)

  3. kruitvat says:


    Terrorism & Security

    Iran executes 13 Sunni rebels
    The condemned were members of Jundallah, which claims to fight for the rights of Sunnis in majority-Shiite Iran. The government has accused the group of ties to Pakistan and the US.

    By Huma Yusuf / July 14, 2009

    • A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

    Iran has executed 13 members of a Sunni rebel group accused of carrying out terrorist attacks in Iran, including mosque bombings and kidnapping foreigners.

    The executions took place Tuesday in the southeastern city of Zahedan in the restive Sistan-Baluchistan Province, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan (click here for a map of the region). Jundallah, which reportedly has up to 1,000 armed fighters, claims to fight against the Shiite regime’s marginalization of Iran’s 2 million ethnic Baluchis, who are primarily Sunni Muslims.

    The group is accused of attacking high-profile targets, including government and security officials. Most recently, Jundallah claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Shia mosque in Zahedan which killed 25 people, reports Agence France-Presse.

    The executions are expected to deal a blow to the rebel group. But they may also heighten tensions between Iran and Pakistan because Tehran has long accused Islamabad of allowing Jundallah to operate from its territory. The Iranian government has also accused the US of supporting Jundallah.

    The BBC reports that the execution of the most prominent Jundallah member in custody has been postponed. Abdolhamid Rigi, the brother of Jundallah leader Abdolmalek Rigi and the group’s second in command, will be executed later this week, according to government press reports.

    The fighters were executed for opening fire on a convoy of vehicles and killing 23 people in Tasuki in March 2006, along with other crimes, reports the Tehran Times, an Iranian daily.

    [Ebrahim Hamidi, the chairman of Baluchestan’s Justice Department] said the rulings were issued in proportionate with the kinds of the crimes they had committed, including the Tasuki incident, creating roadblocks in Chabahar road, kidnapping foreign nationals, and armed robberies.
    According to WashingtonTV, a news site covering Iran, the human rights group Amnesty International called on Iran to stay the executions, arguing that the Jundallah fighters had not received a fair trial.

    The execution of Jundallah fighters will heighten tensions between Iran and its neighbor Pakistan. Earlier this month, Iran’s prosecutor general asked Islamabad to “take necessary measures to prevent terrorists from taking shelter in [Pakistan],” reports Press TV, a state-run news network.

    After the mosque attack in Zahedan in May this year, The News, an English-language Pakistani daily, reported that Jundallah’s activities threaten “not only the Pak-Iran diplomatic ties but also the future of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.”

    The sources said Iranian officials had expressed their deep concern over the failure of the Pakistani authorities to proceed against the Jundullah network in Pakistan despite having been given specific intelligence….

    Diplomatic circles in Islamabad say Tehran’s concern over the growing terrorist activities of Jundullah … could be gauged from the fact that its Ambassador to Pakistan Mashallah Shakeri had addressed an unusual press conference in Islamabad on March 20, accusing Pakistan of allowing its soil to be used against Iran and demanding concrete steps to contain its activities.
    While claiming that the Jundullah network was located inside the Balochistan province, Shakeri had asked Islamabad to curb its anti-Iran activities by taking a decisive action against its leadership.
    Iran’s decision to crack down on Jundallah will also impact US-Iran relations, reports The National, an English-language daily in Abu Dhabi.

    Tehran has also accused the US and Britain of supporting Jundallah to foment sectarian strife in the hope of destabilising the Tehran government. Iranian suspicions of American perfidy were fuelled by reports in some mainstream US media outlets last year that Jundallah was being secretly encouraged and advised by American officials to destabilise the Iranian regime.
    Washington and London have denied all such accusations, as well as Iranian claims that they have stirred the crisis that has gripped Iran since the June elections…. [Jundallah leader] Rigi also took the opportunity to deny that his group is connected in any way to the US….
    But Tehran is using purported confessions from Rigi’s condemned brother to bolster its claims of western malfeasance. Iran’s state-run English language television station, Press TV, quoted him as saying that the Jundallah leader was on the payroll of the US military.

  4. kruitvat says:


    *Jan Boeykens:
    Hillary Clinton to Iran: ‘Stop using death penalty so much
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday expressed concern about the case of a Iranian woman sentenced to death for adultery. Only China uses the death penalty more’.

    – Since 1976 there were 1221 executions in the U.S.
    – Senator Clinton of New York was the top Democratic recipient of pro-Israel funds.
    (Joshua Frank – January 3, 2006 – ‘Hillary Clinton, AIPAC and Iran’ –
    11 hours ago

    *Wassyla Doumandji ‎@ Jan : I’ve opened this note to everybody, so that people could tell their point of view as to stoning. I realize now that you’ve been using it to bother and attack a friend of mine, who’s been standing against zionism for a long time. You are out.
    10 hours ago

    *Jan Boeykens:
    Sorry Wassyla. I do understand that you have to defend your friends.
    Consider my interesting message about the ‘ANTI-IRAN CAMPAIGN’ and the role of Hillary Clinton in it, as my last post.
    Good luck !
    6 minutes ago

  5. kruitvat says:

    Hillary Clinton’s AIPAC speech

    Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton has finished her remarks at the AIPAC policy conference.

    The following excerpts are based on the prepared text.

    On Iran:We are working with our partners in the United Nations on new Security Council sanctions that will show Iran’s leaders that there are real consequences for their intransigence, that the only choice is to live up to their international obligations. Our aim is not incremental sanctions, but sanctions that will bite. It is taking time to produce these sanctions, and we believe that time is a worthwhile investment for winning the broadest possible support for our efforts. But we will not compromise our commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring these weapons.

    On the U.S.-Israeli flap over the announcement of building starts in eastern Jerusalem:New construction in East Jerusalem or the West Bank undermines mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step toward the full negotiations that both sides want and need. It exposes daylight between Israel and the United States that others in the region could hope to exploit. And it undermines America’s unique ability to play a role – an essential role, I might add — in the peace process. Our credibility in this process depends in part on our willingness to praise both sides when they are courageous, and when we don’t agree, to say so, and say so unequivocally.

    We objected to this announcement because we are committed to Israel and its security, which depends on a comprehensive peace. Because we are determined to keep moving forward along a path that ensures Israel’s future as a secure and democratic Jewish state living in peace with its Palestinian neighbors, who can realize their own legitimate aspirations. And because we do not want to see that progress jeopardized.

    When Prime Minister Netanyahu and I spoke, I suggested a number of concrete steps that Israel could take to improve the atmosphere and rebuild confidence. The Prime Minister responded with specific actions Israel is prepared to take toward this end, and we discussed a range of other mutual-confidence building measures. Senator Mitchell continued this discussion in Israel over the weekend, and is meeting with President Abbas today.

    We are making progress and we are working hard to keep the proximity talks moving ahead. I am looking forward to meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu today in Washington and President Obama will see him tomorrow.

    On what the Palestinian Authority and Arab states need to do:We commend the government of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad for the reforms they have undertaken to strengthen law and order, and the progress they have made in improving the quality of life in the West Bank.

    But we encourage them to redouble their efforts to put an end to incitement and violence, continue to ensure security and rule of law, and ingrain a culture of peace and tolerance among Palestinians.

    We applaud Israel’s neighbors for their support of the Arab Peace Initiative and the proximity talks. But their rhetoric must now be backed up by action. They should make it easier to pursue negotiations and an agreement.

    That is their responsibility.

    We will follow up on these discussions and seek a common understanding about the most productive way forward.

    Neither our commitment nor our goal has changed. The United States will continue to encourage all parties to take steps that advance the prospects for peace.

    By Ami Eden · March 22, 2010
    AIPAC is America’s pro-Israel lobby

  6. kruitvat says:

    Hillary Clinton’s AIPAC speech

    Here’s the full text:

    Thank you. Thank you for that welcome. And it is wonderful to be back at AIPAC with so many good friends. I saw a number of them backstage before coming out, and I can assure you that I received a lot of advice. (Laughter.) I know I always do when I see my friends from AIPAC. And I want to thank Lee Rosenberg for that introduction. And congratulations, Rosy; you’re going to be a terrific president. (Applause.)

    I also want to thank David Victor and Howard Kohr and Lonny Kaplan and J.B. Pritzker and Howard Friedman and Ester Kurz and Richard Fishman — and I’d better stop – but all of AIPAC’s directors and staff for your leadership and hard work. And I’m very pleased that you will be hearing from a good friend of mine, Congressman Jim Langevin, a great champion for Israel. And let’s hear it for Jim. (Applause.)

    And to all of you, all of AIPAC’s members, thank you once again for your example of citizen activism. Petitioning your government, expressing your views, speaking up in the arena – this is what democracy is all about. (Applause.) And I am particularly pleased to see that there are, once again, so many young people here. (Applause.) You recognize that your future and the future of our country are bound up with the future of Israel. (Applause.) And your engagement today will help to make that future more secure.

    Given the shared challenges we face, the relationship between the United States and Israel has never been more important. (Applause.) The United States has long recognized that a strong and secure Israel is vital to our own strategic interests. (Applause.) And we know that the forces that threaten Israel also threaten the United States of America. (Applause.) And therefore, we firmly believe that when we strengthen Israel’s security, we strengthen America’s security. (Applause.)

    So from its first day, the Obama Administration has worked to promote Israel’s security and long-term success. And if you ever doubt the resolve of President Obama to stay with a job, look at what we got done for the United States last night when it came to passing quality affordable healthcare for everyone. (Applause.) And we know that, as Vice President Biden said in Israel recently, to make progress in this region, there must be no gap between the United States and Israel on security. (Applause.) And let me assure you, as I have assured you on previous occasions with large groups like this and small intimate settings, for President Obama and for me, and for this entire Administration, our commitment to Israel’s security and Israel’s future is rock solid, unwavering, enduring, and forever. (Applause.)

    And why is that? Why is that? Is it because AIPAC can put 7,500 people into a room in the Convention Center? I don’t think so. Is it because some of the most active Americans in politics and who care about our government also care about Israel? That’s not the explanation. Our countries and our peoples are bound together by our shared values of freedom, equality, democracy, the right to live free from fear, and our common aspirations for a future of peace, security and prosperity, where we can see our children and our children’s children, should we be so lucky – and as a future mother of the bride, I’m certainly hoping for that – (applause) – to see those children, those generations come of age in peace, with the opportunity to fulfill their own God-given potentials.

    Americans honor Israel as a homeland for a people too long oppressed and a democracy that has had to defend itself at every turn, a dream nurtured for generations and made real by men and women who refused to bow to the toughest of odds. In Israel’s story, we see our own. We see, in fact, the story of all people who struggle for freedom and the right to chart their own destinies.

    That’s why it took President Harry Truman only 11 minutes to recognize the new nation of Israel – (applause) – and ever since, our two countries have stood in solidarity. So guaranteeing Israel’s security is more than a policy position for me; it is a personal commitment that will never waver. (Applause.)

    Since my first visit to Israel nearly 30 years ago, I have returned many times and made many friends. I’ve had the privilege of working with some of Israel’s great leaders and have benefited from their wise counsel. I may have even caused some of them consternation – I don’t think Yitzhak Rabin ever forgave me for banishing him to the White House balcony when he wanted to smoke. (Laughter.) And over the years, I have shared your pride in seeing the desert bloom, the economy thrive, and the country flourish. But I have also seen the struggles and the sorrows. I have met with the victims of terrorism, in their hospital rooms I’ve held their hands, I’ve listened to the doctors describe how much shrapnel was left in a leg, an arm, or a head. I sat there and listened to the heart-rending words that Prime Minister Rabin’s granddaughter Noa spoke at her grandfather’s funeral. I went to a bombed-out pizzeria in Jerusalem. I’ve seen the looks on the faces of Israeli families who knew a rocket could fall at any moment.

    On one of my visits, in 2002, I met a young man named Yochai Porat. He was only 26, but he was already a senior medic with MDA and he oversaw a program to train foreign volunteers as first responders in Israel. I attended the program’s graduation ceremonies and I saw the pride in his face as yet another group of young people set off to do good and save lives. Yochai was also a reservist with the IDF. And a week after we met, he was killed by a sniper near a roadblock, along with other soldiers and civilians. MDA renamed the overseas volunteer program in his memory and it has continued to flourish. When I was there in 2005, I met with his family. His parents were committed to continuing to support MDA and its mission – and so was I. That’s why I spent years urging the International Red Cross, introducing legislation, rounding up votes to send a message to Geneva to admit MDA as a full voting member. And finally, with your help – (applause) in 2006, we succeeded in righting that wrong. (Applause.)

    As a senator from New York, I was proud to be a strong voice for Israel in the Congress and around the world. And I am proud that I can continue to be that strong voice as Secretary of State.

    Last fall, I stood next to Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem and praised his government’s decision to place a moratorium on new residential construction in the West Bank. And then I praised it again in Cairo and in Marrakesh and in many places far from Jerusalem to make clear that this was a first step, but it was an important first step. And yes, I underscored the longstanding American policy that does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlements. As Israel’s friend, it is our responsibility to give credit when it is due and to tell the truth when it is needed.

    In 2008, I told this conference that Barack Obama would be a good friend to Israel as president, that he would have a special appreciation of Israel because of his own personal history – a grandfather who fought the Nazis in Patton’s Army, a great-uncle who helped liberate Buchenwald. President Obama and his family have lived the Diaspora experience. And as he told you himself, he understands that there is always a homeland at the center of our story. As a senator, he visited Israel and met families whose houses were destroyed by rockets. And as President, he has supported Israel in word and in deed.

    Under President Obama’s leadership, we have reinvigorated defense consultations, redoubled our efforts to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge, and provided nearly $3 billion in annual military assistance. (Applause.) In fact, as Rosy told you – or maybe it was Howard – that assistance increased in 2010 and we have requested another increase for 2011. (Applause.) And something else I want you to know, more than 1,000 United States troops participated in the Juniper Cobra ballistic missile defense exercises last fall, the largest such drill ever held. (Applause.) President Obama has made achieving peace and recognized secure borders for Israel a top Administration priority.

    The United States has also led the fight in international institutions against anti-Semitisms and efforts to challenge Israel’s legitimacy. We did lead the boycott of the Durban Conference and we repeatedly voted against the deeply flawed Goldstone Report. (Applause.) This Administration will always stand up for Israel’s right to defend itself. (Applause.)

    And for Israel, there is no greater strategic threat than the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran. (Applause.) Elements in Iran’s government have become a menace, both to their own people and in the region. Iran’s president foments anti-Semitism, denies the Holocaust, threatens to destroy Israel, even denies that 9/11 was an attack. The Iranian leadership funds and arms terrorists who have murdered Americans, Israelis, and other innocent people alike. And it has waged a campaign of intimidation and persecution against the Iranian people.

    Last June, Iranians marching silently were beaten with batons. Political prisoners were rounded up and abused. Absurd and false allegations and accusations were leveled against the United States, Israel, and the West. People everywhere were horrified by the video of a young woman shot dead in the street. The Iranian leadership denies its people rights that are universal to all human beings, including the right to speak freely, to assemble without fear, the right to the equal administration of justice, to express your views without facing retribution.

    In addition to threatening Israel, a nuclear-armed Iran would embolden its terrorist clientele and would spark an arms race that could destabilize the region. This is unacceptable. It is unacceptable to the United States. It is unacceptable to Israel. It is unacceptable to the region and the international community. So let me be very clear: The United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. (Applause.)

    Now, for most of the past decade, the United States, as you know, declined to engage with Iran. And Iran grew more, not less, dangerous. It built thousands of centrifuges and spurned the international community. But it faced few consequences. President Obama has been trying a different course, designed to present Iran’s leaders with a clear choice. We’ve made extensive efforts to reengage with Iran, both through direct communication and working with other partners multilaterally, to send an unmistakable message: Uphold your international obligations. And if you do, you will reap the benefits of normal relations. If you do not, you will face increased isolation and painful consequences.

    We took this course with the understanding that the very effort of seeking engagement would strengthen our hand if Iran rejected our initiative. And over the last year, Iran’s leaders have been stripped of their usual excuses. The world has seen that it is Iran, not the United States, responsible for the impasse. With its secret nuclear facilities, increasing violations of its obligations under the nonproliferation regime, and an unjustified expansion of its enrichment activities, more and more nations are finally expressing deep concerns about Iran’s intentions. And there is a growing international consensus on taking steps to pressure Iran’s leaders to change course. Europe is in agreement. Russia, where I just returned from, has moved definitely in this direction. And although there is still work to be done, China has said it supports the dual-track approach of applying pressure if engagement does not produce results. This stronger consensus has also led to increased cooperation on stopping arms shipments and financial transactions that aid terrorists, threaten Israel, and destabilize the region.

    We are now working with our partners in the United Nations on new Security Council sanctions that will show Iran’s leaders that there are real consequences for their intransigence, that their choice is to live up to their international obligations. Our aim is not incremental sanctions, but sanctions that will bite. It is taking time to produce these sanctions, and we believe that time is a worthwhile investment for winning the broadest possible support for our efforts. But we will not compromise our commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring these nuclear weapons. (Applause.)

    But Iran is not the only threat on the horizon. Israel today is confronting some of the toughest challenges in her history. The conflict with the Palestinians and with Israel’s Arab neighbors is an obstacle to prosperity and opportunity for Israelis, Palestinians, and people across the region. But it also threatens Israel’s long-term future as a secure and democratic Jewish state.

    The status quo is unsustainable for all sides. It promises only more violence and unrealized aspirations. Staying on this course means continuing a conflict that carries tragic human costs. Israeli and Palestinian children alike deserve to grow up free from fear and to have that same opportunity to live up to their full God-given potential. (Applause.)

    There is another path, a path that leads toward security and prosperity for Israel, the Palestinians, and all the people of the region. But it will require all parties, including Israel, to make difficult but necessary choices. Both sides must confront the reality that the status quo of the last decade has not produced long-term security or served their interests. Nor has it served the interests of the United States. It is true that heightened security measures have reduced the number of suicide bombings and given some protection and safety to those who worry every day when their child goes to school, their husband goes to work, their mother goes to market. And there is, I think, a belief among many that the status quo can be sustained. But the dynamics of demography, ideology, and technology make this impossible.

    First, we cannot ignore the long-term population trends that result from the Israeli occupation. As Defense Minister Barak and others have observed, the inexorable mathematics of democracy – of demography are hastening the hour at which Israelis may have to choose between preserving their democracy and staying true to the dream of a Jewish homeland. Given this reality, a two-state solution is the only viable path for Israel to remain both a democracy and a Jewish state. (Applause.)

    Second, we cannot be blind to the political implications of continued conflict. There is today truly a struggle, maybe for the first time, between those in the region who accept peace and coexistence with Israel and those who reject it and seek only continued violence. The status quo strengthens the rejectionists who claim peace is impossible, and it weakens those who would accept coexistence. That does not serve Israel’s interests or our own. Those willing to negotiate need to be able to show results for their efforts. And those who preach violence must be proven wrong. All of our regional challenges – confronting the threat posed by Iran, combating violent extremism, promoting democracy and economic opportunity – become harder if the rejectionists grow in power and influence.

    Conversely, a two-state solution would allow Israel’s contributions to the world and to our greater humanity to get the recognition they deserve. It would also allow the Palestinians to have to govern to realize their own legitimate aspirations. And it would undermine the appeal of extremism across the region.

    I was very privileged as First Lady to travel the world on behalf of our country. I went from Latin America to Southeast Asia. And during the 1990s, it was rare that people in places far from the Middle East ever mentioned the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Now, when I started traveling as Secretary of State and I went to places that were so far from the Middle East, it was the first, second, or third issue that countries raised. We cannot escape the impact of mass communications. We cannot control the images and the messages that are conveyed. We can only change the facts on the ground that refute the claims of the rejectionists and extremists, and in so doing create the circumstances for a safe, secure future for Israel. (Applause.)

    And then finally, we must recognize that the ever-evolving technology of war is making it harder to guarantee Israel’s security. For six decades, Israelis have guarded their borders vigilantly. But advances in rocket technology mean that Israeli families are now at risk far from those borders. Despite efforts at containment, rockets with better guidance systems, longer range, and more destructive power are spreading across the region. Hezbollah has amassed tens of thousands of rockets on Israel’s northern border. Hamas has a substantial number in Gaza. And even if some of these are still crude, they all pose a serious danger, as we saw again last week.

    Our message to Hamas is clear: Renounce violence, recognize Israel, and abide by previous signed agreements. (Applause.) That is the only path to participation in negotiations. They do not earn a place at any table absent those changes. (Applause.) And I will repeat today what I have said many times before: Gilad Shalit must be released immediately and returned to his family. (Applause.)

    Unfortunately, neither military action nor restricting access into and out of Gaza has significantly stemmed the flow of rockets to Hamas. They appear content to add to their stockpile and grow rich off the tunnel trade, while the people of Gaza fall deeper into poverty and despair; that is also not a sustainable position for either Israelis or Palestinians.

    Behind these terrorist organizations and their rockets, we see the destabilizing influence of Iran. Now, reaching a two-state solution will not end all these threats – you and I know that – (applause) – but failure to do so gives the extremist foes a pretext to spread violence, instability, and hatred.

    In the face of these unforgiving dynamics of demography, ideology, and technology, it becomes impossible to entrust our hopes for Israel’s future in today’s status quo. These challenges cannot be ignored or wished away. Only by choosing a new path can Israel make the progress it deserves to ensure that their children are able to see a future of peace, and only by having a partner willing to participate with them will the Palestinians be able to see the same future.

    Now, there is for many of us a clear goal: two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and security, with peace between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon, and normal relations between Israel and all the Arab states. (Applause.) A comprehensive peace that is real, not a slogan, that is rooted in genuine recognition of Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, and that offers the best way to ensure Israel’s enduring survival and well-being. That is the goal that the Obama Administration is determined to help Israel and the Palestinians achieve.

    George Mitchell has worked tirelessly with the parties to prepare the ground for the resumption of direct negotiations, beginning with the proximity talks both sides have accepted. These proximity talks are a hopeful first step, and they should be serious and substantive. But ultimately, of course, it will take direct negotiations between the parties to work through all the issues and end the conflict.

    The United States stands ready to play an active and sustained role in these talks, and to support the parties as they work to resolve permanent status issues including security, borders, refugees, and Jerusalem. The United States knows we cannot force a solution. We cannot ordain or command the outcome. The parties themselves must resolve their differences.

    But, we believe – (applause) – we believe that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree to an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the ’67 lines, with agreed swaps, and Israel’s goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israel’s security requirements. (Applause.)

    And the United States recognizes that Jerusalem – Jerusalem is a deeply, profoundly important issue for Israelis and Palestinians, for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem and safeguards its status for people around the world.

    But for negotiations to be successful, they must be built on a foundation of mutual trust and confidence. That is why both Israelis and Palestinians must refrain from unilateral statements and actions that undermine the process or prejudice the outcome of talks.

    When a Hamas-controlled municipality glorifies violence and renames a square after a terrorist who murdered innocent Israelis, it insults the families on both sides who have lost loves ones over the years in this conflict. (Applause.) And when instigators deliberately mischaracterize the rededication of a synagogue in the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem’s old city and call upon their brethren to “defend” nearby Muslim holy sites from so-called “attacks,” it is purely and simply an act of incitement. (Applause.) These provocations are wrong and must be condemned for needlessly inflaming tensions and imperiling prospects for a comprehensive peace.

    It is our devotion to this outcome – two states for two peoples, secure and at peace – that led us to condemn the announcement of plans for new construction in East Jerusalem. This was not about wounded pride. Nor is it a judgment on the final status of Jerusalem, which is an issue to be settled at the negotiating table. This is about getting to the table, creating and protecting an atmosphere of trust around it – and staying there until the job is finally done. (Applause.)

    New construction in East Jerusalem or the West Bank undermines that mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step toward the full negotiations that both sides say want and need. And it exposes daylight between Israel and the United States that others in the region hope to exploit. It undermines America’s unique ability to play a role – an essential role – in the peace process. Our credibility in this process depends in part on our willingness to praise both sides when they are courageous, and when we don’t agree, to say so, and say so unequivocally.

    We objected to this announcement because we are committed to Israel and its security, which we believe depends on a comprehensive peace, because we are determined to keep moving forward along a path that ensures Israel’s future as a secure and democratic Jewish state living in peace with its Palestinian and Arab neighbors, and because we do not want to see the progress that has been made in any way endangered. .

    When Prime Minister Netanyahu and I spoke, I suggested a number of concrete steps Israel could take to improve the atmosphere and rebuild confidence. The prime minister responded with specific actions Israel is prepared to take toward this end, and we discussed a range of other mutual confidence-building measures. Senator Mitchell continued this discussion in Israel over the weekend and is meeting with President Abbas today. We are making progress. We’re working hard. We are making it possible for these proximity talks to move ahead. I will be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu later today and President Obama will meet with him tomorrow. (Applause.) We will follow up on these discussions and seek a common understanding about the most productive way forward.

    Neither our commitment nor our goal has changed. The United States will encourage the parties to advance the prospects for peace. We commend the government of President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad for the reforms they’ve undertaken to strengthen law and order, and the progress that they’ve made in improving the quality of life in the West Bank. But we encourage them to redouble their efforts to put an end to incitement and violence, continue to ensure security and the rule of law, and ingrain a culture of peace and tolerance among Palestinians. (Applause.)

    We applaud Israel’s neighbors for their support of the Arab Peace Initiative and the proximity talks. But their rhetoric must now be backed up by action. (Applause.) They should make it easier to pursue negotiations and an agreement. That is their responsibility.

    And we commend Prime Minister Netanyahu for embracing the vision of the two-state solution, for acting to lift roadblocks and ease movement throughout the West Bank. And we continue to expect Israel to take those concrete steps that will help turn that vision into a reality – build momentum toward a comprehensive peace by demonstrating respect for the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians, stopping settlement activity, and addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

    Now, from the time of David Ben-Gurion, who accepted the UN proposal to divide the land into two nations, Israel and Palestine, leaders like Begin and Rabin and Sharon and others have made difficult but clear-eyed choices to pursue peace in the name of Israel’s future. It was Rabin who said, “For Israel there is no path that is without pain. But the path of peace is preferable to the path of war.” And last June at Bar-Ilan University, Prime Minister Netanyahu put his country on the path to peace. President Abbas has put the Palestinians on that path as well. The challenge will be to keep moving forward, to stay on what will be a difficult course.

    Peace does brings with it a future of promise and possibility. Ultimately, that is the vision that drives us and that has driven leaders of Israel going back to the very beginning – a future freed from the shackles of conflict; families no longer afraid of rockets in the night; Israelis traveling and trading freely in the region; Palestinians able to chart their own futures; former adversaries working together on issues of common concern like water, infrastructure, and development that builds broadly shared prosperity and a global strategic partnership between Israel and the United States that taps the talent and innovation of both our societies, comes up with solutions to the problems of the 21st century.

    From addressing climate change and energy to hunger, poverty and disease, Israel is already on the cutting edge. Look at the spread of high-tech start-ups, the influx of venture capital, the number of Nobel laureates. Israel is already a force to be reckoned with. Imagine what its leadership could be on the world stage if the conflict were behind it. We are already working as partners. There is so much more we could achieve together.

    We are entering the season of Passover. The story of Moses resonates for people of all faiths, and it teaches us many lessons, including that we must take risks, even a leap of faith, to reach the promised land. When Moses urged the Jews to follow him out of Egypt, many objected. They said it was too dangerous, too hard, too risky. And later, in the desert, some thought it would be better to return to Egypt. It was too dangerous, too hard, too risky. In fact, I think they formed a back-to-Egypt committee and tried to stir up support for that. And when they came to the very edge of the promised land, there were still some who refused to enter because it was too dangerous, too hard, and too risky.

    But Israel’s history is the story of brave men and women who took risks. They did the hard thing because they believed and knew it was right. We know that this dream was championed by Herzl and others that many said was impossible. And then the pioneers – can you imagine the conversation, telling your mother and father I’m going to go to the desert and make it bloom. And people thinking, how could that ever happen? But it did.

    Warriors who were so gallant in battle, but then offered their adversaries a hand of peace because they thought it would make their beloved Israel stronger. Israel and the generations that have come have understood that the strongest among us is often the one who turns an enemy into a friend. Israel has shed more than its share of bitter tears. But for that dream to survive, for the state to flourish, this generation of Israelis must also take up the tradition and do what seems too dangerous, too hard, and too risky. And of this they can be absolutely sure: the United States and the American people will stand with you. We will share the risks and we will shoulder the burdens, as we face the future together.

    God bless you. God bless Israel and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

    By Ami Eden · March 22, 2010
    AIPAC is America’s pro-Israel lobby

  7. kruitvat says:

    John P. Jones on

    This article from The Nation is likely going to be controversial, but it provides (what I think is) a fair illustration of what is going on. We (Americans) as a whole don’t give a shit about what happens to women in Afghanistan. We barely care about what happens to women here in the U.S.. The issue of women’s rights in Afghanistan is a facade used to cover our real interests there. Should we care about womens’s rights?

    Women, the Taliban and That ‘Time’ Cover
    Robert Dreyfuss
    August 9, 2010

    The latest entry into the trumped-up debate over the fate of women in Afghanistan comes from Judy Bachrach, an editor at Vanity Fair. It’s all part and parcel of a campaign, by some well-meaning people and some not so well-meaning, to justify America’s failing counterinsurgency policy in that devastated nation by raising the banner of women’s rights, a debate kicked off by the now ubiquitous Time magazine cover photograph of an Afghan woman whose face was mutilated, allegedly by a Taliban-allied, reactionary tribal potentate. Referring to a CNN interview of Nancy Pelosi by Christiane Amanpour, Bachrach writes:

    For effect she shoved the photo of the mutilated face right under the speaker’s startled gaze, adding: “To put it right down to its basics, is America going to abandon the women of Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan, again?”

    “To put it right down to its basics—Yes, Christiane. We are. You can bet your ass Nancy’s not going to tell you this, in fact she’ll tell you nothing at all substantive on your show in response to any of your questions, but abandonment is the American way.”

    To her credit, Bachrach does go on to admit that the United States is not in Afghanistan because of the plight of its women but, as Pelosi told Amanpour, “because it’s in our own strategic national interest.” But, since the Time cover hit the newsstands, it’s allowed proponents of the war to argue that America has a moral obligation to defend that country’s woman against the predatory nature of the Taliban.

    However it’s being used by the supporters of the war, it’s an issue that progressives and antiwar activists need to address squarely, too.

    The issue is, what might happen if there is a Taliban restoration in Afghanistan. Now, it’s true that it’s possible to argue that the departure of US and NATO forces might not inevitably lead to a Taliban comeback. It’s even possible to argue that the US presence in Afghanistan makes a Taliban comeback more likely, not less. But that’s not the issue. The question is: might they come back? Might they seize Kabul, or just entrench themselves, in the manner of the autonomous Kurdish zone in Iraq, in the Pashtun areas? Personally, I’m an agnostic on this question. But it’s foolish to dismiss the possibility, even probability. It’s one thing to argue that the Taliban is a complex organism with many moving parts, and that it would be resisted by non-Pashtun minorities in the north and west and by liberal and enlightened Afghans everywhere. Still, it might come back, especially if Pakistan decides that’s the game it wants to play.

    If the Taliban does come back, it would be a bad thing for Afghanistan—and not just for women. Women may have their noses sliced off when they act uppity, and schools for girls may close. But the cultural backwardness and reactionary politics of the Taliban will slice across all sexes, ages and ethnic groups. In other words, the Taliban’s comeback isn’t just bad for women. Both men and women will be forced to live under the benighted and despicable reign of the Taliban’s thugs. Like the reign of the mullahs in Iran, the Taliban is bad news for all. Men and boys, like women and girls, will be forced to abandon modern life; they will be crowded into oppressive Islamist schools, compelled to forget that they live in the twenty-first century, and beaten or killed for listening to music, reading banned books (pretty much everything but the Koran), watching DVDs or flying kites. Tribal and clan leaders who are more enlightened, who’d like to bring Afghanistan into the modern world, will be slaughtered, just like tribal leaders who opposed the Taliban in FATA were obliterated by the hundreds since 2001.

    Is this a women’s issue? I don’t think so. Now, it’s true that the sorts of reactionary drivel that comes from the Taliban is intrinsic to the institutionalized cultural life of that part of the world, in which men come first, women are treated as property, and so on. That is, only part of the deadening and oppressive conditions that existed under Taliban rule 1994-2001 arose because the Taliban were political reactionaries; some of it was already there, deeply ingrained into Afghan life. Indeed, even since 2001 there have been numerous reports of both official and unofficial mistreatment of women and women’s rights by warlords, local and provincial official, and by the supposedly enlightened government in Kabul. It’ s chicken-and-egg problem, and I’m not sure whether Afghanistan in the 1990s was so bad because the Taliban imposed an alien system or because an inherently reactionary system was already there and that that system helped produce the Taliban. Either way, however, the Taliban and its allies are bad news.

    The problem, as I said, can’t be ignored by saying, “Oh, if the US leaves Afghanistan, the Taliban won’t come back.” The fact is, if the United States does leave Afghanistan, it is at least a 50-50 possibility that they’ll storm back into power, and that civil war will result. (The US is leaving Iraq, and there is a real possibility that there, too, the result will be civil war sometime in late 2011 or 2012.)

    What’s sad is the naked attempt by supporters of the war to put the women’s issue out front so shamelessly. That’s because it’s effective. Back in the 1990s, when the Clinton adminstration, Khalilzad et al. were happily ready to make deals with the Taliban-in-power, it was the women’s issue that overthrew those efforts, riled up Hillary Clinton and helped push the Taliban regime into Untouchable Land. Don’t think for a minute that the war supporters who bemoan the issue of women-under-the-Taliban don’t remember that. The fact remains that the forces of reactionary political Islam are dangerous and oppressive, whether its power is wielded by the CIA (in backing the anti-USSR jihad in the 1980s), by Shin Bet (in supporting the rise of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood between 1967 and 1987) or by the ISI.

    Yet the US has neither the right to fix Afghanistan nor the ability. All the economic aid in the world isn’t going to do it, and promises of US postwar assistance to Afghanistan are a joke, if indeed the Taliban comes to power. Can you imagine any US Congress appropriating a dime to help Afghanistan in that case?

    Progressives need to take a cold-eyed look at the consequences of leaving Afghanistan. Pollyannish views and soothing bromides won’t cut it.

    If there is any hope for Afghanistan after the United States leaves, that hope will reside in two places. First, India, Iran, Russia and the ‘Stans will have to assert themselves in support of anti-Taliban Afghans. Second, Pakistan will have to decide whether supporting the most reactionary elements of the Taliban movement is worth continuing a bloody civil war that is the most likely result of America’s departure. As I’ve argued for a long while now, the July 2011 deadline from President Obama ought to light a fuse on American diplomacy aimed at getting all of those parties to underwrite a deal that starts with an accord with the Taliban. I’ve spoken to Indian government officials who recognize that a deal with the Taliban ultimately is what’s needed, even if they’d like to see Pakistan’s influence radically diminished. Perhaps, inside the Taliban, there are relatively more enlightened individuals and pragmatists willing to acknowledge at least the minimal rights of Afghan women. But whether that’s true or not, some sort of deal is going to be cut eventually.

    Is that abandonment? Maybe so.

  8. kruitvat says:

    Women’s Rights in Islam

    The issue of women in Islam, is topic of great misunderstanding and distortion due partly to a lack of understanding, but also partly due to misbehavior of some Muslims which has been taken to represent the teachings of Islam. We speak here about what Islam teaches, and that is that standard according to which Muslims are to be judged. As such, my basis and source is the Quran–the words of Allah, and the sayings of the Prophet, his deeds and his confirmation. Islamic laws are derived from these sources. To facilitate our discussion we can discuss the position of women from a spiritual, economic, social, and political standpoint.
    From the spiritual aspect, there are seven points to remember:
    According to the Quran, men and women have the same spirit, there is no superiority in the spiritual sense between men and women. [Noble Quran 4:1, 7:189, 42:11]
    The Quran makes it clear that all human beings (and the phraseology doesn’t apply to men or women alone, but to both) have what you might call a human; He
    “breathed some of My spirit into divine touch. When God created him”(or her in this sense). [Noble Quran 15:29 See also 32:9]
    Some of His spirit here means not in the incarnational sense, but the pure, innate spiritual nature that God has endowed her or him with.
    The Quran indicates again that one of the most honored positions of human, is that God created the human, and as I referred to Surah 17 earlier, it means both sexes, as His trustee and representative on earth. There are many references in the Quran that reaffirm this.
    Nowhere in the Quran do we find any trace of any notion of blaming Eve for the first mistake or for eating from the forbidden tree. Nowhere, even though the Quran speaks about Adam, Eve, and the forbidden tree, but in a totally different spirit. The story is narrated in 7:19-27, and it speaks about both of them doing this, both of them are told that both of them disobeyed, both of them discovered the consequences of their disobedience, both of them seek repentance and both of them are forgiven. Nowhere in the Quran does it say woman is to be blamed for the fall of man. Furthermore, when the Quran speaks about the suffering of women during the period of pregnancy and childbirth, nowhere does it connect it with the concept of original sin, because there is no concept of original sin in Islam. The suffering is presented not as a reason to remind woman of the fall of man, but as a reason to adore and love woman or the mother. In the Quran, especially 31:14, 46:15, it makes it quite clear God has commanded upon mankind to be kind to parents and mentions,
    “His mother bore him in difficulty or suffering upon suffering.” [Noble Quran 31:14, 46:15]
    The Quran makes it clear again to remove any notion of superiority and I refer you again to 49:13. I must caution you that there are some mistaken translations, but if you go to the original Arabic, there is no question of gender being involved.
    In terms of moral, spiritual duties, acts of worship, the requirements of men and women are the same, except in some cases when women have certain concessions because of their feminine nature, or their health or the health of their babies.
    The Quran explicitly, in more than one verse, 3:195, 4:124, specified that whoever does good deeds, and is a believer and then specifies “male or female” God will give them an abundant reward.

    In the area of economic rights, we have to remember that in Europe until the 19th century, women did not have the right to own their own property.

    When they were married, either it would transfer to the husband or she would not be able to dispense of it without permission of her husband. In Britain, perhaps the first country to give women some property rights, laws were passed in the 1860’s known as “Married Women Property Act.” More than 1300 years earlier, that right was clearly established in Islamic law.
    “Whatever men earn, they have a share of that and whatever women earn, they have a share in that.” [Noble Quran 4:32]
    Secondly, there is no restriction in Islamic law that says a woman cannot work or have a profession, that her only place is in the home. In fact, by definition, in a truly Islamic society, there must be women physicians, women nurses, women teachers, because it’s preferable also to separate teenagers in the volatile years in high school education. And if she chooses to work, or if she’s married with the consent of her husband, she’s entitled to equal pay, not for equal work, but for work of equal worth.
    Thirdly, when it comes to financial security, Islamic law is more tilted in many respects towards women. These are seven examples:
    During the period of engagement, a woman is to be on the receiving side of gifts.
    At the time of marriage, it is the duty of the husband, not the bride’s family. He is supposed to pay for a marital gift. The Quran called it a gift, and it is exclusively the right of the woman. She doesn’t have to spend it on the household, she doesn’t have to give it to her father or anyone else.
    If the woman happened to own any property prior to marriage, she retains that property after marriage. It remains under her control. Also, in most Muslim countries, the woman keeps her own last name, and her own identity.
    If the woman has any earnings during her marital life, by way of investments of her property or as a result of work, she doesn’t have to spend one penny of that income on the household, it is entirely hers.
    The full maintenance and support of a married woman is the entire responsibility of her husband, even though she might be richer than he is. She doesn’t have to spend a penny.
    At the time of divorce, there are certain guarantees during the waiting period and even beyond for a woman’s support.
    If the widow or divorcee has children, she’s entitled to child support.
    In return for these listed securities, it is clear why the Islamic laws pertaining to inheritance give men a higher share. From the social standpoint, as a daughter we find that credit goes to Islam for stopping the barbaric practice of pre-Islamic Arabs of female infanticide. These ignorant people used to bury female daughters alive. The Quran forbade the practice, making it a crime. Surah 81 Additionally, the Quran condemned the chauvinistic attitudes of some people who used to greet the birth of a boy with gladness, but sadness in the case of a girl.
    The duty, not the right, the duty of education, as the Prophet said, is a duty on every Muslim, male and female.
    As far as treatment of daughters is concerned, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Anyone who has two daughters, and did not bury them, did not insult them and brought them up properly, he and I will be like this,” holding his two fingers close together. Another version adds, “And also did not favor his sons over daughters.” One time the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was seated. A companion was sitting with him. The companion’s son came. He kissed his son and put him on his lap. Then his daughter came, and he just sat her by his side. The Prophet told the man, “You did not do Justice,” meaning he should have treated the daughter equally, kissed her and put her in his lap also. Indeed, whenever the Prophet’s daughter Fatimah came to him, in front of everyone, he stood up, kissed her and let her sit in his favorite place where he’d been sitting.
    From the marital standpoint, the Quran clearly indicates in Surahs 30:20 and 42:11 that marriage is not just an inevitable evil, marriage is not somebody getting married to his master or slave, but rather to his partner.
    “Among His Signs is this, that he created for you mates from among yourselves, that they may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” [Noble Quran 30:21]
    There are numerous verses in the Quran to the same effect.
    Secondly, the approval and consent of the girl to marriage is a prerequisite for the validity of marriage in Islam. She has the right to say yes or no.
    Husbands’ and wives’ duties are mutual responsibilities. They might not be identical duties, but the totality of rights and responsibilities are balanced. The Quran says:
    “Women have the same rights (in relation to their husbands) as are expected in all decency from them, while men stand a step above them.” [Noble Quran 2:228]
    This only specifies the degree of responsibility, not privilege, in man’s role as provider, protector, maintainer, and leader of the family. The same Surah speaks about divorce, about consultation between husband and wife, even in the case of divorce. When there are family disputes, first the Quran appeals to reason and the consideration of positive aspects of one’s spouse,
    “Dwell with your wives in kindness for even if you hate them, you might be hating someone in whom God has placed so much good.” [Noble Quran 4:19]
    If that appeal does not succeed, and problems between the husband and wife continue, there are measures that can be applied. Some of these measures are done privately between husband and wife. Some of them might appear harsh, but there are qualifications to restrict excessive or abusive use of these measures. These measures are considered an attempt to save a marriage rather than break a family apart. If the situation does not improve, even with the limitation and prevention of excesses, the next step is a family council. One arbiter from his family and one from her family should sit together with the couple and try to resolve the problems.
    If a divorce becomes necessary, there are many detailed procedures in Islamic law that really knock down the common notion that divorce in Islam is very easy and that it is the sole right of man. It is not the sole right of man alone and neither is it true that all you have to say is: “I divorce you three times,” and that’s it. Islam also has laws regarding custody of children. I was very surprised to see newspapers making the false claim that in all cases custody goes to the father. Custody involves the interest of the child, and laws often favor the mother of young children.
    Polygamy has become so mythical in the minds of many people that they assume being Muslim means having four wives. This is a false notion, of course. A very renowned anthropologist, Edward Westermarck, in his two-volume work, “History of Human Marriage,” notes that there has been polygamy in virtually every culture and religion, including Judaism and Christianity. But the point here is not to say, “Why blame Islam?” Actually, Islam is the only religion even among Abrahamic faiths, that specifically limited the practice of polygamy that existed before Islam and established very strict conditions for guidance. The question, “How could any man have two wives? That’s terrible!” reflects ethnocentrism. We assume that because we’re living in the West and it seems strange, and we assume it must apply to all cultures, all times, under all circumstances. This simply isn’t true. Let me give you one current-day example. In the savage attack on Afghanistan, genocide was committed on the Afghani people. It is estimated that 1-1.5 million people lost their lives, a great majority of whom were men of a marriageable age. Now, with a great shortage of men, what will happen to their widows, their orphans and their daughters of marriageable age? Is it better to leave them in a camp, with a handout? Or better a man is willing to take care of his fallen comrade’s wife and children?
    It is obvious that monogamy is the norm for Muslims. If we assume that having four wives is the norm, then we assume a population of 80% female and 20% male, which is an impossibility on the aggregate level. The only verse in the Quran that speaks about polygamy, speaks about limiting not instituting polygamy. The verse was revealed after the Battle of Uhud in which many Muslims were martyred, leaving behind wives and children in need of support. This verse shows the spirit and reason of the revelation.
    The Quran placed obedience to parents immediately after worship of God.
    “We commanded mankind to be kind to his parents” [Noble Quran 31:14]
    And then speaks of the mother. In a very succinct statement, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Paradise is at the feet of mothers.” Once a man came to him and asked, “O, Messenger, who among mankind is worthy of my kindness and love?” The Prophet answered, “Your mother.” “Who next?” “Your mother.” “Who next?” “Your mother.” Only after the third time he said, “And your father.”
    As a sister in faith, in blood, we find the Quran speaks about men and women, that they should cooperate and collaborate in goodness. Surah 9:71 speaks about men and women as supporters and helpers of each other, ordaining the good and forbidding the evil, establishing prayers and doing charity. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) echoed what the Quran said, “I command you to be kind to women.”

    In one of his last commands in his farewell pilgrimage before his death, he kept repeating, “I command you to be kind and considerate to women.” In another hadith, he said, “It is only the generous in character who is good to women, and only the evil one who insults them.”
    On the question of attire, the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet did not say women must adopt a particular dress of a particular country. It only gives basic boundaries, and for a committed Muslim woman, she doesn’t follow this simply because her father or husband tells her, but because Allah already stated that as a requirement in the Quran, and was explained through revelation given to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) that this was not to restrict woman, but to provide a virtuous society where sexual attraction is not the main obsession of everyone. This forces everyone to respect the woman for what she is as a human being, as an intellectual and a spiritual being, rather than being diverted to her sexuality.
    Finally, a few words about political involvement. The verse quoted earlier, Surah 9:71, which speaks about men and women being supporters and helpers of each other was taken by some jurists to mean that it involves also public life. How could they ordain the good and forbid the evil without women being active in the affairs of their society? According to the Quran, I’m not talking about the practices of Muslims, in Surah 60:12, we read about Muslim women making “bayy’ah” to the Prophet. Bayy’ah as an Islamic term is somewhat analogous, to a degree, to what we would call an election, or oath of allegiance. And that was given in his capacity not only as a Prophet, but as a head of state, as he was already the head of state in Medina.
    During the rein of ‘Umar, women participated in law making. ‘Umar made a proposal of a certain regulation concerning marriage. A woman in the mosque stood up and said, “‘Umar, you can’t do that.” ‘Umar did not tell her, “Shut up, you are a woman, you have nothing to do with politics, etc.” He asked, “Why?” She made her argument on the basis of Quran. In front of everybody, he stood up and said, “The woman is right and ‘Umar is wrong,” and he withdrew his proposal. That was the spirit in the early days of Islam.
    In the most authentic collection of Hadith, Hadith Bukhari, a section is devoted to the participation of women, not only in public affairs, but in the battlefield, too, and not only as logistical support. Women carried arms, and when there was great danger to the Muslims, they volunteered to participate even in the battlefield.
    The problems presented here are not the problems of Islam. They are problems of a lack of commitment, lack of application, or misapplication of Islamic teachings by Muslims themselves. The topics I have tried to cover here represent and exemplify the big gap that exists between the true teachings of Islam as derived from its original sources and its projected image in the West and the way some Muslims behave in the disregard of those noble teachings.
    There’s no question that the Western media has played an important role in perpetuating these misconceptions. But in fairness, we should not blame the media alone. Western culture, in writings about other religions, in particular Islam, have distorted images.

    From books, novels, even in the academic circle, and sermons from the pulpit in places of worship, these kinds of prejudices are perpetuated.

    There are fair and honorable people in the media who are receptive to correction of inaccuracies, and who present the facts, when the facts become manifest, as we have seen in the coverage of the barbaric and cruel treatment of the Palestinians n the Occupied Territories. What I would suggest to the media is instead of depending on the distorted information about Islam, they should keep in touch with educated Muslims, and remember, the U.S. has between 5 and 6 million Muslims. Only through correct representation and open communication with Muslims in America can the media give a fair analysis of current events, given the background of those conflicts, and provide a great service to society.
    Umm Hajar

  9. kruitvat says:

    August 12, 2010

    Here is what I received this morning.
    I don’t intend here to criticize the Iranian regime, this is another debate, but to stand against death penalty, in one of its most odious forms, stoning. Sakineh Ashtiani has become a symbol of this struggle. Others are in the death row, waiting for the same fate. If you feel as I do, please take action, write, sign petitions, and share this post. All my thanks for your help.
    Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is at imminent risk of execution in Tabriz prison. Moreover, her well known human rights lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaei, is in prison in Turkey after having fled the country to evade arrest for his advocacy work. His wife remains in prison in Iran – held hostage – until he is remanded into the regime’s custody (
    Given Turkey’s close relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mostafaei can face deportation back to Iran even though he has applied for refugee status with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees there.
    Campaigners are concerned about the safety of Mostafaei and his wife. They are also extremely concerned for Ashtiani’s life. The regime may be preparing to execute her within the next few days, particularly given that the Tabriz prosecutor has demanded her execution and is awaiting the Tehran high court’s confirmation (
    In her most recent heart-wrenching message, she says:“I am now quiet and sad because a part of my heart is frozen. The day I was flogged in front of [my son] Sajjad, I was crushed and my dignity and heart were broken. The day I was given the stoning sentence, it was as if I fell into a deep hole and I lost consciousness.
    Many nights, before sleeping, I think to myself how can anybody be prepared to throw stones at me; to aim at my face and hands? Why? I thank all of you from Tabriz Prison.
    Mrs [Mina] Ahadi, tell everyone that I’m afraid of dying. Help me stay alive and hug my children.” As a result the public outcry, Brazilian president Lula da Silva has offered Ashtiani asylum there. Ashtiani has accepted the offer ( The regime, however, has rejected it and continues to push for her execution and to disseminate misinformation on her case. It says it intends not to stone her but to execute her for murdering her husband. At the 30 July press conference in London, Mina Ahadi exposed the regime’s misinformation on the case and revealed court documents showing Ashtiani’s sentence of death by stoning for adultery. [In fact, she was acquitted of any murder charges; even those found guilty of murdering her husband have not been executed at the request of the victim’s family.]At the 30 July press conference, Maryam Namazie also refuted claims made by the embassy of the Islamic regime of Iran in London and the former French ambassador to Iran that stonings in Iran were rare; she referred to a new report published by the International Committee against Executions which has found that over 100 people have been stoned with 25 known cases currently awaiting death by stoning in Iran. Other speakers at the press conference AC Grayling spoke of the contradiction between a medieval government and a progressive population wanting to be free whilst Peter Tatchell stressed the importance of supporting Sakineh and all those languishing on death row. Given the imminent risk of execution faced by Ashtiani and the insecure status of her lawyer in Turkey we urge the public to act now.Ashtiani’s stoning and execution orders must be rescinded, she must be immediately released and there must be an end to stoning and executions.
    1- Send Sakineh a postcard of the city you live in or are visiting this summer telling her you are thinking of her and other prisoners on death row in Tabriz prison. You can address it to: Sakineh Mohammadi AshtianiTabriz PrisonTabriz, Iran
    – Write letters of protest to the Islamic regime of Iran demanding Ashtiani’s release and an end to stonings and executions.
    Protest letters can be addressed to the below:
    Head of the Judiciary Sadeqh LarijaniHowzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary) Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e JomhouriTehran 1316814737, Iran Email: or via website: starred box: your given name; second starred box: your family name; third: your email addressHead of the Judiciary in East Azerbaijan ProvinceMalek-Ashtar Sharifi Office of the Head of the Judiciary in TabrizEast Azerbaijan, Iran Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei The Office of the Supreme Leader Islamic Republic Street – Shahid Keshvar Doust StreetTehran, Iran Email: via website: (English) (Persian) Secretary General, High Council for Human RightsMohammad Javad LarijaniHowzeh Riassat-e Ghoveh GhazaiyehPasteur St, Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e JomhuriTehran 1316814737, Iran Fax: +98 21 3390 4986 Email: bia.judi@yahoo.com3
    – Sign petitions in support of her case if you haven’t already done so. Here are three of them:,, and
    – Write to government officials, heads of state, MEPs and MPs in your country of residence calling on them to intervene to save her life. See Mina Ahadi’s recent letter to heads of states on this:
    – Write to the Turkish government asking them to release Mohammad Mostafaei and to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Turkey urging them to grant him refugee status and expedite his resettlement to a safe third country.Prime MinisterRecep Tayyip ErdoganBasbakanlik06573 Ankara, TurkeyFax: +90-312-417 0476Minister of InteriorIcisleri Bakanligi06644 AnkaraFax: +90 312 417 23 90Minister of Foreign AffairsDisisleri Bakanligi06100 AnkaraFax: +90 312 419 – Branch Office in TurkeyTiflis Cad. 552. Sok. No: 3 Sancak Mah. 06550 AnkaraTurkeyFax: +90 312 441 21 73
    Via website:

    Wassyla Doumandji

  10. kruitvat says:

    On :

    We the undersigned are aware of the unjust treatment of Sakineh Ashtiani. WE CALL FOR SAKINEH ASHTIANI’S IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

    We call for the elimination of stoning as a practice in Iran, a practice which violates any and all definitions of human rights.

    We call for the elimination of other forms of the death penalty or flogging or imprisonment for those convicted of “adultery”.

    We also call on the authorities to ensure that Sajjad Qaderzadeh will not be harassed in connection with expressions of concern he has made regarding the life of his mother, Sakineh Ashtiani.

    In as much as Iran is a signatory to the International Declaration of Human Rights and related Conventions, we call upon Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the leaders of Iran to take responsibility for their commitments and intervene to free this woman who is being unjustly punished, as well as other women currently condemned to die by stoning for adultery.

    No matter what the differences are in religious or political beliefs, Iran must participate, along with all other nations, in creating a world where basic human rights and fundamental humanity prevail.

    Stoning is barbaric…. And it must be stopped.

    CC: Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

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