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The Stoning of Soraya M.

January 30, 2011

Life has been busy, and I haven’t felt like blogging much, until today when I finished reading this book and had to share.

I don’t know if this is a book I would necessarily recommend, it’s very sad and at times a bit gruesome. There’s certainly no happy ending and it’s definitely not a “feel good” read by any means. By the time I neared the end of the book, my heart felt so heavy and sad for this woman that I have never met.

This story was written back in 1990 and translated from French in 1994, although the story itself took place a few years prior, in 1986, when I was just two years old. After coming across a DVD under the same title, that we had purchased at work, I was intrigued and looked it up on Amazon and discovered it was originally a book. It’s a short read, just 141 pages, and yet it contains such a powerful story. A story that made me – again – thankful that I was born in America. As I finished up the book, and headed out to church, the song “God’s Been Good” was playing in my car and I was overwhelmed by how good God has been in my life. I could have been born in Iran. I could have been married off to a man I hated when I was just thirteen years old. And yet God has blessed me so much. Just the fact that I am an American, and I have freedom of choice over my future, is such an incredible blessing.

The story contained within the pages of this book is just one woman’s story, and yet it is one that has been repeated over and over again throughout the pages of time. Freidoune Sahebjam tells this story candidly and simply, knowing that the world needs to know what really goes on behind the curtain of the Muslim Iranian world.

This book tells the story of Soraya M., a woman who was married off at an early age, to a cruel husband who beat her and her children repeatedly. He tormented her, constantly humiliated her, cheated on her, and when he could not provoke her to actions that ultimately would condemn her in her Muslim world, he tried to set her up by having her go help out at her brother in law’s house after her brother in law’s wife had died. She went faithfully and helped cook and clean and take care of his children, all the while maintaining her own household. Her husband then started rumors that she was being unfaithful to him, and neglecting her chores at home, and over time was able to turn the entire village against her. Only her aunt sided with her, knowing full well that she was innocent. But her husband was able to turn her own sons and father against her, along with the entire village. They maintained that she had disgraced her family and in order to preserve their honor, she must die.

The author goes on to describe in detail how the cruel villagers stoned her and decided not to bury her because they didn’t want her in their cemetery, which was reserved for “good Muslims.”

My heart ached and I felt sick as I thought of this poor, innocent woman being tortured to death all because her husband wanted to marry someone else, and wanted to be rid of her. He was able to incite the entire village against her, and she was powerless to defend herself against so many. Then I thought “where are all the women’s rights groups? How can atrocities like this be allowed to continue, while the world at large turns and looks the other way? How can anyone for a second justify this? People everywhere are praising Muslims for their peace-loving ways, all the while there are Muslims worldwide who are being stoned/hanged to death in ‘honor’ killings! Women are treated worse than trash, and yet we do nothing.” And then I remembered. Our women’s rights groups are too busy championing women’s “rights to kill their babies” so it shouldn’t surprise me that they don’t care about deaths that are taking place on the other side of the world. They are too busy ensuring that we are allowed to continue our own personal killings right here in the United States.

It’s sad. And disgusting. We have the brains and ingenuity to create amazing technology, to do great things. And yet people are dying for lack of freedom, for lack of civility. Apart from God man leads an abominable life, I realize that, and without Him we will never see real, true change in our world. But my heart still aches for the millions of women who have to live in countries like Iran. Where they live in darkness, oppressed by cruel regimes and a religion that treats them as inferior. The world can continue to champion Islam and portray the slant that they want, but I’m glad there are a few brave souls who take the chance and tell these stories. Because, as the author says, the world does need to know. (The author himself lives in hiding in France)

I feel so blessed to be an American. Not just an American, but child of God. To have grown up in a home where the truth was taught and encouraged.

It could have been so different.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chloe Kara permalink
    February 15, 2011 9:28 am

    Hi I was wondering what has happend to Soraya’s husband has he been convicted for Lying???

    • jenmarie permalink*
      February 15, 2011 9:44 am

      I don’t know. =( I’m guessing that if he’s still in Iran, he hasn’t been, since that’s kind of “accepted” there, sadly.

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