Shirin Ebadi: Islamic Heroes Of Persia

We know of their names from the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe:  Lech Walesa, Vaclav Haval and hosts of other artists, poets, playwrights who numbered the nameless among the Soviet onslaught that became the Warsaw Pact.  The ‘great noble lie’ was finished off by Pope John Paul II, Reagan, Thatcher and the brave who fought off the idol that was Russia.  The same goes on in Iran but it is ignored by Western media.  Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2003 for creating a regime of resistance to the Theocracy that has become a militant Persia.  She and hosts of others have rallied attention to the slaughter, rape, murder and torture of dissidents throughout Iran.

Central America had ‘Mothers of the Disappeared’ in El Salvador, the same exists in Chile, and Guateamala.  All were memorialized in the music of U2.  Most remember the lavish timbre that is ‘The Joshua Tree’.  The righteous self anger of western artists against South Africa or opposition to the Reagan Doctrine for that matter has no equivalent in Iran.

Shirin Ebadi has written an essay titled ‘Iran’s 7th Century Justice’.  She brings to light several Islamic laws regarding marriage and the conjugal act that are not consistent with moral law.  She writes that in Iran, men are permitted conjugal relations with girls age 9.  Even though adultery is punishable by stoning, the vast majority of victims remain women.  Persian Islamic law permits men the juridic title of ‘marriage’ even if conjugal relations only lasted a few hours with a consenting adult.  This means that men never face Persian law prescribed for women.

Iranian law permits polygamy, so any legal codification of marriage is always beneficial toward men.  Such gender specific legalese is not justice!  A husbands complaint alone absent any testimony is sufficient for stoning.

There are many Islamic Jurists like Grand Ayatollah Yousef Saanei (pronounced You-seff Sah-ah-knee) whom are critical of stoning since the Koran never speaks of such.  Here is an example of how Islam is primarily informed from a rigid interpretative principle known as ‘historicism’.  I have written on this subject many times in this blog.

Shirin Ebadi brave voice for justice in Iran cries out unnoticed by the West.  This alone is a crime!  Her ‘Center For The Defense Of Human Rights’ in Iran, whom she is the founding member is the last best hope for millions of Iranians who remain persecuted.

Please read her Nobel Lecture and acceptance speech at

About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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