Iranians protest honor killings after the death of another young woman

Iran Telegraf)
Iranians demonstrate against honor killings (photo: Iran Telegraf)

On August 14th, eighteen year-old Fereshteh Nejati was murdered by her father. Forced into marriage at 14, Fereshteh was seeking a divorce.

The details of her murder are gruesome. The response to the tragedy, however, shows signs of hope for Iran’s women.

Where am I finding this hope? Well, Fereshteh’s community decided that enough is enough. Some 2000 people – men and women – gathered in the streets to demand an end to honor killings, and to claim Fereshteh’s body for a respectful burial.

See photos of the demonstration here

As always, check out the International Campaign Against Honour Killings . There, you can join communities like Fereshteh’s in their efforts.


* Please remember to keep taking action for Kobra Najjar, an Iranian woman facing imminent stoning.

* Sign the anti-honor killing petition I’ve told you about here.

* Send letters to the Pakistani government demanding that they take action against honor killings.

* Work against the epidemic of rape in Afghanistan.

* Help protect women threatened with acid attacks.

Call on Iran’s leaders to release Kobra Najjar

August 9, 2008
August 9, 2008

I told you about Kobra Najjar in a previous entry. Thank you to one of my readers for sending along another way we can help her – and speak out against all stoning in Iran.

Consider signing this petition, written by Muslims and addressed to Iran’s leaders.

And, if you haven’t already – remember to check out the International Campaign Against Honour Killings – and sign up for their mailing list.

Jumu’ah dispatch #2

Last week, I posted a blog for jumu’ah, and have decided to do so every week. The subject will be likely be a spiritual matter I’ve been reflecting on over the week. I also welcome your suggestions for topics. Please feel free to leave a comment or email me  your ideas.

“Sectarian bloodbaths in Iraq … suicide bombers blowing themselves up in parking lots of hotels, taking innocent lives…female madrassah students in Islamabad waving cane sticks at shopkeepers and vendors … people being turned away from Islam from the harshness of many of those deemed “religious” …

There is a loss of mercy and gentleness around. Yet we see anger and harshness abound, and one wonders what has gone wrong.

In reality, Divine guidance and Prophetic teachings are nothing but a manifestation of mercy-and any understanding of religion lacking in mercy is lacking in true understanding.”

– Faraz Rabbani

Since last Friday, I’ve blogged about some of the most grievous things one human can do to another. Women in Pakistan have been threatened with acid attacks. Kobra Najjar, an Iranian woman, is facing imminent execution by stoning after having already survived sexual slavery.

I’ve received quite a bit of feedback on both of the above items. Many of you – Muslims and non-Muslims – are taking positive action: writing letters to Iranian officials to support Ms. Najjar, and signing up with the non-governmental organizations working against things like acid attacks and honor killings.

By taking these positive steps, you’re exhibiting mercy. Mercy, and gentleness in judgement – are both commanded of Muslims. Those who perpetrate crimes like those above are acting in violation of some of Islam’s most fundamental precepts. That is why it is so important for the rest of us to step up to the plate.

Last night, after a meaningful email exchange about judgementalism, mercy, and values, I stumbled across this article from Islamica Magazine. In it, we are reminded that when confronted with insults – judgements – the Prophet (pbuh) insisted on responding with gentleness and mercy. He said that “Allah is gentleness, and loves gentleness in all matters.”

Not only should our actions for social justice come from mercy – so should should our daily interactions and reactions – no matter the vitriol, the tension, or even the hate we are faced with. A valuable reminder for me, and hopefully for others too.  

What does mercy mean to you? What does your faith/set of values say about judgement and mercy?

Iranian woman faces stoning – here’s what you can do

Kobra Najjar is an Iranian woman facing imminent execution by stoning. Why? She’s been charged with adultery – when what really happened is that her husband forced her into prostitution to support his heroin addiction. I mentioned her case in this post.

Iranian women’s rights groups report that Ms. Najjar has exhausted all legal remedies available to her domestically.

The only hope for her now is for Iranian leaders to be pressured into releasing her.

You can help. Here’s how. I join Equality Now and the International Campaign Against Honour Killings in asking you to do the following:

Please contact the Iranian officials below, calling for Kobra Najjar’s immediate release, the commutation of all sentences of death by stoning and the prohibition by law of all cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments in accordance with Iran’s obligations under the ICCPR. Urge the officials also to initiate a comprehensive review of the Civil and Penal Codes of Iran to remove all provisions that discriminate and perpetuate discrimination against women, including those regarding adultery and fornication, in accordance with Iran’s own constitutional provision for equality before the law.

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Head of the Judiciary
c/o Ministry of Justice          
Park-e Shahr
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email:, and
Phone:  +98 21 22741002, +98 21 22741003, +98 21 22741004, +98 21 22741005  

Note: your message may bounce back to you. Please keep trying.

Please also contact the Iranian embassy in your country.

* United States: Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Washington, D.C.

Tel:   202-965-4990  
Fax: 202-965-1073

* United Kingdom: Embassy of Iran in London

Tel: +02072253000
Fax: +02075894440                                                                                     

* Canada: Embassy of Iran in Ottawa

Tel: 613-235-4726 Ext 225
Fax: 613-232-5712

A comprehensive list can be found by clicking the link above or by visiting this page.