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Iran

As Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepares for another round of theatrics at the UN this week for the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, victims of his regime and others are routinely ignored, as Ben Cohen points out in yesterday's New York Post. It's a useful time to bring to shed light on of the Iranian regime's favoured means of crushing dissenters: institutionalized and systematic rape.

Beneath the outer horrors of repression in Iran—the scenes of brutal attacks by police and security forces against peaceful protestors witnessed in the streets of Tehran throughout 2009 and 2010—lie the underground horrors that those protestors and other political activists face once they find themselves inside Iran’s prison system. The preponderance of torture in Iran’s prisons is well documented by human rights organizations, and it’s long acknowledged that the Iranian justice system often denies detainees the right to legal representation, to a fair trial, and many are simply ‘disappeared’ within the prison system. However, rape as a form of torture is particularly prevalent as a tool used by the state to punish and debilitate dissenters.

Reports of rape in Iranian prisons- carried out by guards as well...More >>

One would think that suppressing a mass uprising that just won't seem to go away would keep Iran's theocrats awfully busy, but the ayatollahs have been more focused lately on skirt hems and hair-dos. Perhaps it's proscrastination, a make-work project to avoid having to get through all those tedious sham trials for the thousands of dissidents recently rounded up and imprisoned in these heady times. Whatever it is, there has been a steady output of late of new rules and updated regulations concerning personal attire in the Islamic Republic.

In June this year, the republic's "moral police" fanned out in a force of 70,000 to snuff out the fires of what the mullahs-on-high perceive to be a "western cultural invasion". New problems the police force have to deal with in this particular seasonal crackdown include men wearing necklaces, mullets and ponytails. The latter two are not found on the government's list of approved hairstyles (oh yes, there's a list). Long nails, tattoos, tooth gems (whatever those are), and body piercings are also now needing to be banned. This is on top of the perennial problem that Iranian women miraculously and persistently manage to make the shroud-look still come off sexily...More >>

Because your country murdered 400 pro-democracy demonstrators.

Ambassadors from Iran, North Korea and Zimbabwe are still invited, though. No reporters have managed to catch these countries murdering 400 citizens... this week.

Seriously, can't Prince William and Kate Middleton simply choose not to host representatives for mass-murdering regimes that hate everything the UK stands for at their wedding?

A representative from Help For Heroes, a charity that helps those who have been wounded in Britain's current conflicts, is invited to the wedding. How does that mesh with inviting the Iranian ambassador, who works for a country that supplies IEDs to the Taliban to kill British and other NATO soldiers?

It is their wedding, right? And if it isn't -- if someone wants to make the case that this is a national event put on by the nation for the nation, there's even more reason to make sure the bouncers keep out the riff-raff.

Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist...More >>

The Road to Fatima Gate
The Beirut Spring, the rise of Hezbollah, and the Iranian war against Israel

By Michael J Totten
Encounter Books, Publication Date: April 5th 2011

road to fatima gate michael totten israel hezbollah iran middle east politics book reviewThe current political and social upheaval throughout the Middle East and North Africa has highlighted something that those of us living in the region have known for a long time; just how rare accurate reporting and analysis of events in this area is.

Too much of the commentary produced by foreign correspondents and Middle East ‘experts’ is one-dimensional and it is the result of both the inability of writers to set aside their own cultural straight-jackets which have little or no relevance in this region, together with the commercial pressures to compete for headlines in a digital age in which speed and volume of content trump accuracy and quality reporting.

I often think of this prevalent sort of Middle East journalism in terms of mass-produced, flat-pack chipboard furniture. It’s not meant to last, it all looks pretty...More >>

universal declaration human rights politics islamic communist violations shariahTo understand human rights, one must fully appreciate what it means to be human. To be human is to contemplate, strive, endeavor, love---even hate!

But foremost, to be human is to reason. Human beings reason in several ways and to achieve various ends. They understand like no other species on earth that unbridled fear, rancour and mistrust lead to chaos and anarchy in society that ultimately work to the disadvantage of all human beings. It is the faculty of reason that sets human beings apart from other life forms on earth. Therefore, though it is human to hate, it is equally human to put limits on hate and its expression through reason, so as to guarantee “human” rights to all human beings.  

Acutely aware of their own needs, human beings are also able to empathize with the needs and desires of other members of their species. To be able to walk in the other’s shoes is hence a singularly human trait.

It is human beings who feel for others, feel the other’s joys and sorrows, and recognize that all human...More >>

muslim islamic culture religion politics shariah

Now because I am always curious about men who take an unusually intense interest in women's clothing, I noticed that a Muslim clergyman has worked himself into a tizzy over a recent Islamic dress fashion show in Tatarstan. The designers featured in the show had clearly made every effort to not show the slightest swath of flesh (even when decking women out in aqua feathered Cirque-de-soleil-style fluff dresses that would surely draw attention, skin-less or not) and to have their otherwise interesting and colourful creations conform to the expectation of lots of flowing fabric and no display of hair, necklines, elbows, ankles or any other devilish body part. But the very idea of a fashion show is "unIslamic" according to Nurislam Ibrahimov, a Tatar imam, who implores that "the human body is not a mannequin".

That's funny, because Ayatollah Asif Mohseni, the Iran-backed conservative Shia "scholar" and architect of Afghanistan's "rape law" seems to feel differently. He argued in early drafts of his infamous Shia Personal Status Law for an article that would legally require women to wear...More >>

united nations human rights civil dictatorship africa middle east democracyThe United Nations, the body founded in the wake of the Holocaust and the horrific consequences of unchecked fascism, has once again signalled just how far off its foundation it's slid over the last 60 years. In a resolution on extrajudicial, arbitrary and summary executions, a specific reference to sexual orientation has been dropped from the list of unjustified reasons for executions, after several Arab and African countries banded together in a bid to have the reference removed.

In effect, the United Nations, the world body mandated to uphold the universalism of human rights, will not be defending the rights of human beings not to be murdered by their governments on account of their sexual preferences-- not even on paper this time.

The amendment to remove "sexual orientation" was put forward by Mali and Morocco and hailed by African and Islamic member states, changing the wording of the 2008 resolution which explicitly mentioned sexual orientation. Thus, in 2010, we have a resolution that is weaker than its predecessor: it's regress instead of progress in the develoment of international...More >>

While the fate of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani in Iran, who narrowly escaped being stoned to death earlier this year, still hangs in the balance, another gruesome Islamo-fascist punishment is on the verge of being carried out in Pakistan. Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old field worker and member of Pakistan's much persecuted Christian minority, was sentenced to death for blasphemy. Yes, blasphemy. In 2010.

Asia Bibi has been in jail for the past year and a half, since she was accused of insulting the Muslim prophet "after she got into a heated argument with Muslim co-workers who refused to drink from a bucket of water she had touched" according to The Freethinker.

She remains in prison, though an appeal to the country's president may mean she will get a stay of execution. Still, she could face a lengthy imprisonment and would be in grave danger of being killed by freelancing fanatics, furious that she was not executed by the government. Following threats, her family is now in hiding, in fear of their lives, according to a recent update on the case.

Meanwhile in other...More >>

religion human sexuality repression persecutionEarlier this month, I wrote about the sexual violence that occurs in societies which radically repress and restrict relationships between consenting adults. Another consequence is the strange acrobatics one must perform to circumvent the system in place, or to legitimate their actions within the purview of the system.

For instance, in Iran, sex before or outside of marriage is prohibited by law. Indeed, the accusation of an extramarital affair can lead to a 'stoning to death' sentencing by the revolutionary courts. So the rule is serious. But there is another rule, called sigheh, legally known as a "temporary marriage". It's a term used for what most places would simply call sexual intercourse between two people who are not co-habitating marital partners. Sigheh does not even need to be registered and can last as little as five minutes, or up to 99 years. In other words, it's good for a quickie, or for a long-term relationship without a wedding. As Elaine Sciolino writes, "Sigheh legally wraps premarital sex in an Islamic cloak."

So in the same Islamic Republic which obsessively prizes virginity,...More >>

It is difficult to imagine any form of punishment that is more of a throwback to the dark ages than the type of capital punishment known as stoning to death. Death by stoning is the symptom of a death-cult culture, one that celebrates violence and cruelty, and is so far over the edge, it aint’ ever coming back to the land of reason.

Stoning is almost only ever done to women, and almost always for “moral crimes” like adultery, and in some cases women are stoned for that ever-forgiveless crime of being raped or gang-raped. Meanwhile, it’s reported that Iranian men who murder their wives can usually get away with paying a modest fine. I won’t even begin to attempt to provide any adjectives or analysis for this state of affairs, ongoing into the 21st century. This kind of collective psychopathy is simply beyond words.

In Iran and Saudi Arabia, where stoning is a perfectly legal punishment nationally, or in Nigeria and Somalia where it is part of the legal system in effect in certain regions, I sometimes think of the lawyer tasked with writing this punishment...More >>

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