The Stoning of Soraya M.

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The Stoning of Soraya M. is a film based on the book of the same name by Freidoune Sahebjam, a French-Iranian journalist. Both the film and the book are clearly from a feminist perspective. They make a clear case against the Iranian Sharia Law system, championed by Zahra, the aunt of the titular character, Soraya. While acknowledgement of an individual's right to choose and freely practice their religion is laudable, more important is the recognition that there is a clear moral distinction between right and wrong. The events depicted in this film fit unambiguously and absolutely into the category of wrong. The inherent failings and obvious injustice for women due to a strict and barbarous interpretation of religious law are made indisputably clear in this film. From the title, the plot of the film is immediately clear. Despite the viewer's knowledge of Soraya's fate from the outset, watching it unfold is still beyond belief. Soraya is depicted as a beautiful young woman, tormented by her abusive and philandering husband, Ali. Despite the entire villages knowledge of her husband's affairs, Soraya is powerless to separate from him on her own terms. Her two sons, far too young to make conscious decisions, mimic their father, are cold and callous toward their mother and sisters, while her daughters are equally abused and neglected by the men. When Ali desires a divorce from Soraya in order to marry a fourteen year old from the city, he makes what he considers a 'fair' proposal for settlement, which neglects to provide for Soraya or their daughters whom he does not want. Thereafter, Soraya is left with no recourse under Islamic law. According to the beliefs regarding honour and shame in the village, to seek shelte... ... middle of paper ... ... the film is another example of the ways in which Islam is distorted and constructed to incapacitate women. Ultimately, the lesson learned from this film is that obvious and indefensible injustice must be acknowledged and rectified, lest such obscenities continue. The acceptance of atrocious behaviour in the name of religious freedom is unacceptable. Slaughter in the form of violent public bloodshed is unlawful, immoral, and reprehensible. While it is far from this author to presume to know the will of God, it is indisputably not execution as portrayed in this film. Stoning is an unmistakable violation of human rights, constructed to punitively cripple women in particular. Regardless of pious fervor or spiritual devotion, basic human decency dictates that we should be repulsed and deeply saddened that violence is perpetuated in the name of religion.

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