- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 3, 2002

Amost daily, there are reports from Iran of the worst abuses of human rights executions, floggings, torture, secret trials, closing dozens of newspapers and jailing their editors, mass killings plus support for global terrorism, plus developing weapons of mass destruction. Yet, amazingly, every once in a while we get a sly, little hint around the State Department that the Iranians are ready for dialogue and perhaps we ought to give them a chance, perhaps they're not as bad as they are made out to be. Well, the Iranian theocrats, known as mullahs, are even worse than I thought.
I've just had a talk with a young Iranian woman and read a paper she recently did at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. That paper, by Kiana Underwood (her married name), 26, now living in California, is titled "The Destiny of Iranian Women after the Revolution of 1979." And that tragic destiny is this: So long as the Ayatollah Khomeini theocracy, instituted with the 1979 overthrow of the shah, rules Iran, Iranian women are doomed to enslavement and to reprisal for any deviation from what the ayatollahs define as proper behavior. Such tyranny over women, Mrs. Underwood writes, is in defiance of the Koran and the history of Islam.
The 20-year reign of terror of the current regime simply follows the precept handed down by Khomeini himself in a Feb. 3, 1984, TV sermon that was later published in the government newspaper, Ettelaat: "Killing is a form of mercy because it rectifies the person. Sometimes a person cannot be reformed unless he is cut up and burnt … You must kill, burn and lock up those in opposition."
Malevolence against women, which has flourished under the Khomeini regime, goes back a long way in Iranian history, as far back as the Safavid Dynasty (1502-1736). But this is today, and a U.N. report (Nov. 22, 1994) on violence against women referred to special Islamic legislation that has institutionalized public stoning and lashing of women. A woman who does not follow the Islamic dress code is punishable by "takfir," or excommunication, which means a death sentence. A husband whose wife is accused of violating the Islamic dress code for example, appearing in public unveiled can lose his job or worse.
Hashemi Rafsanjani, while serving as president of Iran, handed down this misogynistic insight about women on June 7, 1986: "Equality does not take precedence over justice … Justice does not mean that all laws must be the same for men and women. One of the mistakes that Westerners make is to forget this … the difference in the stature, vitality, voice, development, muscular quality and physical strength of men and women shows that men are stronger and more capable in all fields … Men's brains are larger … These differences affect the delegation of responsibilities, duties and rights."
Even more wretched are passages from Khomeini's book, "Tahrir-ol-vasileh." In a chapter on cleanliness, he calls women "najes," (filthy). A man need only wash once a day, but women twice a day. Although Islam favors praying collectively in a mosque, Khomeini recommends women pray at home, preferably in a closet. While a husband must provide for his wife's living expenses, he is not required to pay medical expenses for a serious illness. If the wife has independent means, fine; if not, too bad.
As you read this, it is well to remember that this medieval code was promulgated by the leader of Iran's revolution, the Imam Khomeini himself. Whatever were the faults of the Shah Reza Pahlevi, he wouldn't have dared issue such macabre rulings. Khomeini authorized "temporary marriage," a euphemism for prostitution in which he specified that a sum be paid to the woman for the use of her body. I don't know what adjective could describe Khomeini's fatwa, which sanctioned the rape of virgin girls prior to their execution, or another fatwa that permitted execution of pregnant women. Another fatwa is so disgusting that I can't describe it.
In the Majlis, the Iranian legislature, deputies discuss the superiority of men to women. The head of Iran's so-called judiciary said in December 1986: "Your wife is your possession, in fact, your slave."
Mrs. Underwood's paper argues that women were respected by Mohammed. He praised Abraham's second wife, Hagar; pharaoh's daughter, who raised Moses; the Virgin Mary, who is spoken of highly in the Koran. Khadijeh, Mohammed's wife, and Fatima, his daughter, are important to him. Mohammed stressed the equality of all men and women. Before the rise of Mohammed in 611 A.D., it was common practice on the Arabian peninsula to bury baby girls alive. Mohammed condemned this barbarism. Throughout the Koran, says Mrs. Underwood, men and women are addressed as equals, and she offers citations from Islam's holy book. Khadijeh dedicated her life, Mrs. Underwood says, "to the promotion of Islam."
And Mrs. Underwood asks: "Where in the Koran is it mentioned that men and women are unequal creations of God? Where in the actions and sayings of Mohammed do we find such hostility and violence against women? Where has the Islamic Republic of Iran found in the Koran the guidelines under which they claim to operate? The Islamic Republic of Iran has a vendetta against women; they have used Islam, the very faith that Mohammed used to liberate women, as a tool to tyrannize and terrorize them."

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide