The May 5 edition of New Zealand’s Timaru Herald
carried a story of the stoning to death of four ducks by four boys the previous
weekend. The newspaper quoted an unidentified man who said that when he tried
to stop the boys, one of them responded, “But we’re only killing them with
These boys are not like the boys I knew while growing up in a small Illinois
town where the worst thing one did with stones was to toss them through greenhouse
windows or at streetlights.
The Associated Press reported on April 14 that angry villagers in San Juan
Chamula, in southern Mexico, stoned to death a man for practicing witchcraft.
After killing him, the villagers hacked up his body with machetes before
setting it on fire.
Witch-burning Mexicans are not like the folks I see every day who do not
use rocks, blades and fire in the superstitious elimination of those they
fear. Unfounded rumor and innuendo are the weapons of choice among the college-educated
A few days ago, I received an email purportedly from a branch of Amnesty
International soliciting my name to an email petition calling on the Nigerian
government to stop the stoning of Amina Lawal, 31, convicted of adultery
last year by a Muslim court. About five million individuals responded to
the request, I have since learned.
Some problems exist with the petition, however. Amnesty International disavows
any knowledge of the drive, and June 3 is the date for Lawal’s next court
appeal, not her execution.
In a further confusing twist, the Nigerian group Baobab for Women’s Rights
insists that misguided and misinformed campaigns such as this one risk damaging
the credibility of local human rights groups, not to mention really ticking
off local officials who do not like meddling by international do-gooders.
Nigeria is one of seven countries, all Muslim, that either engages in state-sponsored
stoning or allows it as part of shariah law. The others include Afghanistan,
Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Sudan. As late as February of
this year, a 13-year-old Pakistani girl was mutilated and stoned for dancing
at a wedding.
U.S. lawmakers agree that these people are not like us. The House of Representatives
in March, by a 416-0 vote, passed a resolution sponsored by Rep. Betty McCollum
(D-MN), that denounces stoning as a gross violation of human rights.
This issue is not new to Capitol Hill. On Feb. 25, 1998, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen,
R-Fla., and Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-NY, showed a smuggled video of a public
stoning in Iran. A copy of the 15-minute tape is online at Apostates of Islam.com.
It is a gruesome account, and should not be viewed by the merely curious
or those easily sickened by terrifying images of torture.
About five minutes into the tape we see a group of men carrying an individual
in a sheet to the center of the plaza, and we watch as they transform the
sheet into a death shroud. They carefully place the mummy-like figure into
a hole as if transplanting a tree in someone’s yard.
At about seven minutes into the tape, handlers place a second person into
another hole. This raw video shows us the backs of people as the photographer
walks around looking for a clear view of the gruesome scene of death. About
30 seconds later, hundreds of men, mostly members of Iran’s Revolutionary
Guard, crowd into a circle around the condemned. Then the stoning begins,
We watch the eerie site of two white figures writhing as stones hit them.
A man walks up to one shroud and pelts it with rocks. The camera zooms in
on the bloodied lump surrounded by stones. The camera pans to the other individual.
The cover is knocked off, he is face down, his head is bathed in blood.
The tape jumps to the scene of a third person brought in, shrouded. He stands
stock still as ghastly gardeners plant him in the hole.
Dirt is shoveled into the hole around the fourth individual, who bends at
the waist. Feet tamp the dirt around him, making sure all is snug.
The circle of death reforms as the man with the shovel makes his final tamps. The crowd chants in agitated anticipation.
The stoning begins with lusty yells. It is a frenzied scene devoid of humanity.
Scores of stones fly quickly and strike horribly. The shroud around one head
explodes into red. The two ghostly figures totter. One falls forward only
to be pelted backward.
The camera zooms in. The man on the right writhes as his shroud comes loose.
We see his bloody torso struck by stones. We see him struggle as the pile
of stones grows around him. We see the circle contract slowly until fewer
than five feet separate the murderous men from the objects of their execution.
Stone throwers stand close enough to caress their victims. But they do not.
Instead, they pick up more stones and fling them with all their might.
The condemned continue to writhe, to fall over, to sit back up, to fall back
over. One goes suddenly still. The other rises, almost defiantly in the face
of hard death.
Now the crowd stands within inches. Men pick up rocks as quickly as they
can, in some macabre competition to see who will cast the last stone in the
deliverance of Allah’s justice.
Both figures are still. The crowd disperses. I recall the New Zealand boys
who justified their actions by saying they only killed them with rocks. These
Muslim men would appreciate the sentiments, because they are not like us.
Mundus vult decipi.
David Powell is an award-winning writer and Internet columnist, professional
speechwriter, and contributor to the Christian Millennium History Project.
He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone. Published originally at www.EtherZone.com; republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.
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