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BBC’s misinformed and unbalanced debate on Stoning in Iran

I was meant to speak on BBC Sunday Live’s debate today on whether it was right to condemn the regime for Sakineh’s stoning.

In the live debate, they managed to interview Suhaib Hassan from the Islamic Sharia Council defending stoning and someone from Tehran saying she faces execution for murdering her husband but somehow there was no time in the debate for me.

Even the presenter, Susanna Reid, said stonings were rare and that none had taken place since the 2002 moratorium! In fact 17 people have been stoned since the moratorium; also there are court documents provided by her lawyer specifying her stoning sentence for adultery. BBC had all this information. Without providing evidence to the contrary, BBC Sunday Live took as fact the regime’s pronouncements on her case. They failed to mention that the man charged with her husband’s murder is not being executed and that the trumped up murder charges are an attempt by the regime to silence the public outcry and kill Sakineh. As Sakineh herself has said: “they think they can do anything to women.”

The crux of the debate is this – of course it is right to condemn the regime. It has nothing to do with imposing ‘western’ values or imperialism. It’s a matter of choice really. Do you choose the regime’s values or that of Sakineh and her son’s who are fighting to keep her alive.

BBC Sunday Live has clearly made its choice. And the millions worldwide, including in Iran, who won’t stop fighting to save her life have made ours.

We will not stop till we end stoning and save Sakineh.

To see the debate, click here. If you are unhappy at the way the debate went, please contact the programme and ask for a balanced view on the issue:

Sunday Morning Live
Blackstaff,39-43 Bedford Street, Belfast, BT2 7EE
T: 028 9033 8379 M: 07875001606
anna.phipps@bbc.co.uk
lindsey.hammond@bbc.co.uk

Comments

  1. says

    I agree, and the presenter's statement 'we must point out her claims of of being not guilty have been contested' without then going on to discuss the details of the case or even give a proper background was uncalled for.

  2. says

    What would the response be if someone offered to stand in her place? Would the authorities there push her punishment onto someone who stood in for her?

  3. says

    You are absolutely correct in your assertions. I did find the interview discomforting at parts; however, such is the nature of free speech, which should be honoured.

    Geography does not dictate moral values – just as paedophilia is not tolerated around the world because people have an inherent understanding of what is right and wrong, the same can be said for other immoral acts, such as torture, gender discrimination and stoning.

    As Saadi said:

    "Human being are members of a whole,
    In creation of one essence and soul.
    If one member is afflicted with pain,
    Other members uneasy will remain.
    If you've no sympathy for human pain,
    The name of human you cannot retain"

  4. Anonymous says

    The AIM will be contacting the BBC in our numbers. Obviously the BBC is to the UK what Press TV is to Iran, a right wing lying propaganda unit.

  5. says

    Hi! I am the Vice-President of LiHSbrasil – the Secular Humanist League of Brazil.
    Eli Vieira and I participated in the rally on August 28, in Porto Alegre, with great pleasure. I want you to know that we are very attentive to what is happening in this matter, and whatever we can do to help, just let us know.
    Yours sincerely
    Åsa Heuser

  6. says

    Hi! I am the Vice-President of LiHSbrasil – the Secular Humanist League of Brazil.
    Eli Vieira and I participated in the rally on August 28, in Porto Alegre, with great pleasure. I want you to know that we are very attentive to what is happening in this matter, and whatever we can do to help, just let us know.
    Yours sincerely
    Åsa Heuser

  7. says

    Everyone should be outraged by the BBC's inexcusable omission of any informed criticism, and we should be horrified by their apathetic endorsement of relativist, Laissez-faire morality.

    As one whose Bahá'í family sought refuge in Canada from the perpetual persecution of the Iranian regime against its religious minorities, I am especially frustrated with this total lapse in integrity from the BBC. If the BBC waxes coolly unconcerned about the brutal stoning of women, just imagine the depth of their indifference on religious freedom or gay rights!

    Let's not pretend that there is a neutral position here, as they want us to: To withhold immediate and forceful criticism of the Iranian regime is to resoundingly condemn Iranian women, gays, and religious minorities.

    As Shirin Ebadi points out, cultural relativism is tantamount to total denial of Universal human rights. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0nqXdb7QeI

  8. says

    I am shocked!! What happened to the BBC? There was a time the BBC would put reasonable voices to speak. Now they put the defender of a mysoginistic law and an inconsistent, fallacious, disgustingly relativistic psychologist who managed to silence the basic human emotion of empathy with his "pro-culture" mumblings. Is Britain that afraid of political Islam?!

    I wish I could make president Lula do something about it here in Brazil, but it seems he is too busy with elections to care about someone else's life.

    If Sakineh dies this world will show that barbaric authoritarian ignorance has won with its ally, nasty academic cultural relativism.

    Mandela would be ashamed. I don't want to live in a world like this. And I choose to fight to change it!

  9. Debbie says

    I am totally disgusted in the BBC. This is a totally money spinning yarn on their part. They bring in more listeners with their 'rant' and unbalanced viewpoint than if they let true free speech occur.
    That this should happen in a "Christian" or non-religous country is barbaric in itself. There should be no discussion on stoning what so ever!!!! It is a tragic offence to humanity.
    Shame on the money hungry BBC – they have no shame.

  10. says

    Of course there should be discussion! People hold many different viewpoints. There are many who think it is right to have a death penalty. They also think that having this penalty administered by electric chair or lethal injection is right. Now, to get such people to change their minds is not an easy task. Saying "no discussion on stoning whatsoever" will not be a good enough reason to start to convince people to change their minds and beliefs.
    Stoning is thought by these individuals to be Right. Just as you think it is wrong, they believe the opposite. To get you to change your view would take a lot of work. You are not convinced by them saying it is right. Neither will they be convinced it is wrong just because you feel as you do. You have to realise they feel very differently.
    This is a complicated situation of cultures and world views, and we have the freedom to wholly disagree with the worldview they hold.
    But we *don't* have the freedom to ignore how their worldview leads to the acts they commit, the beliefs they hold dear.
    The way forward is to work towards intelligent thoughtful discussion, which will do more than expostulating.

    It is worth pointing out that in Old Testament times stoning of children who did not obey was written about. That does not make it right, simply because it is in the Bible. It was used, but nowadays Christianity and Judaism have a new understanding of who and how to punish.
    Jesus said that the person who was without sin should cast the first stone. Getting to the deeper point he was showing that no one is perfect. So we may feel revolted by stoning to death but we cannot claim perfection in ourselves.

    http://www.lindabutterfly.etsy.com

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