The Stoning of Soraya M.: A Story of Injustice in Iran

The Stoning of Soraya M.: A Story of Injustice in Iran

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Overview

Soraya M.’s husband, Ghorban-Ali, couldn’t afford to marry another woman. Rather than returning Soraya’s dowry, as custom required before taking a second wife, he plotted with four friends and a counterfeit mullah to dispose of her. Together, they accused Soraya of adultery. Her only crime was cooking for a friend’s widowed husband. Exhausted by a lifetime of abuse and hardship, Soraya said nothing, and the makeshift tribunal took her silence as a confession of guilt. They sentenced her to death by stoning: a punishment prohibited by Islam but widely practiced.

Day by day—sometimes minute by minute—Sahebjam deftly recounts these horrendous events, tracing Soraya’s life with searing immediacy, from her arranged marriage and the births of her children to her husband’s increasing cruelty and her horrifying execution, where, by tradition, her father, husband, and sons hurled the first stones. A stark look at the intersection between culture and justice, this is one woman’s story, but it stands for the stories of thousands of women who suffered—and continue to suffer—the same fate. It is a story that must be told.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611450255
Publisher: Arcade
Publication date: 04/27/2011
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 350,029
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Freidoune Sahebjam, the son of a former Iranian ambassador, is a journalist who was sentenced to death in absentia for his undercover reporting criticizing the Iranian government. He lives in hiding in France.

Richard Seaver was a publisher, editor, and translator. He passed away in 2009.

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The Stoning of Soraya M.: A Story of Injustice in Iran 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A couple of years ago I saw the movie the Stoning of Soraya M. The book had not been re-released yet (it was pulled off the shelves for several years), but I preordered almost immediately after watching the film. This book exposes the darkest side of extremism. The story will break your heart, and then break it again. The hardships this woman faced, and women continue to face in remote villages in the middle east are terrifying and should make us all grateful that our (women’s) lives are held as precious and not disposable. As a mother I read this book thinking of the children that were affected and touched by Soraya M.’s life, as woman I imagine her pain and despair when she is cast aside for something “better”. Many may find this book (and the movie) difficult to read/watch. Many will not finish it, but for those of us that were able to fight through the tears to the bitter end, we learn valuable lessons. Sometimes honesty is not enough. Sometimes love is not enough. Sometimes this world is cruel and unfair. Please take caution when reading this book or watching the movie, it is not for children (it is barely for adults). It deals with and details horrific acts and horrible situations and does not have a “happy” ending.
I_Am_Human_Too More than 1 year ago
I am getting ready to buy this book. I just finished watching the movie and became horrified at the lengths some will go through to get what they want. I cannot wait to read the book for a more indepth insight into this despicable behavior of women. My heart goes out to the children who were victims in this horrendous story. Anyone who doesn't get what happened really was not paying attention.
DanikaNN More than 1 year ago
This story is a must read...It has the tendency to elicit a very strong and real response to the plight of women in the middle east.
Voracious_Reader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I could barely finish The Stoning of Soraya M.and at the same time I found it difficult to put down. Essentially the book tells the story of what leads up to the barbaric stoning of Soraya M. under Islamic law in Iran. The portion of the book devoted to the stoning itself is graphic, but what leads up to the stoning is equally as graphic and difficult to withstand. Freidoune Sahebjam draws a stunning portrait of the oppression of an entire village, particularly its women, and the devastation that fundamentalist religion combined with the power of government has on any diversity of thought in Khomeini-era Iran. Simply put Soraya M. was murdered by her husband and her own village because their fundamentalist version of religion gave them permission to place women in positions of servitude, sexual slavery to be killed in the name of God when a husband demanded it. I cannot imagine being governed by Sharia law if this book contains an accurate portrait of it.
bcquinnsmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Let me begin by offering a quotation from the preface:"After the shah was deposed and the fundamentalist regime headed by the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in February 1979, many dubious elements of the population, including common-law criminals who had been jailed for good reason under the shah, were released from the country's prisons. Taking advantage of the religious fervor sweeping the land, a number of these people, especially those with at least a basic knowledge of the Koran and its tenets, donned clerics' garb, gave themselves the title of mullah, and roamed the country seeing opportunities for self-enrichment or, quite simply, to conceal their past from the authorities."In 1986, the author was waiting in a small mountain village in Iran for a contact to take him over the border into Pakistan, when he was offered tea by an elderly woman. She then proceeded to tell him that two weeks earlier, her niece Soraya had been stoned to death for being unfaithful to her husband, and that she had been innocent of the charge. The author's contact showed up and he had to leave, but he promised the woman he'd be back, and he returned some six months later to hear her story, which ended up being the substance of this book. The book recalls a beyond-horrible crime instigated by one of these above-mentioned mullahs in cahoots with Soraya's husband. This mullah (Sheik Hassan) had been in prison and was running away from the regime that put him there. He had fled to a small village of about 250 people where he was able to quickly gain the trust of the village leaders and become the go-to guy for settling disputes, and he was able to profit monetarily from his position as well. The sheik's background is important, because he represents one of those people whose position allowed him to manipulate religious beliefs for his own gain, and in this particular case, vengeance.The basic story is this. Soraya's parents had betrothed her to Ghorban-Ali whom she had known since childhood and whom she didn't like even then. He was an abusive husband and later father, who would beat his wife regularly and then start in on his children. He spent a great deal of time turning his two older children against their mother. When he wasn't in the village, he was involved in black-market and other illegal activities until the change in regime, when he became a prison guard and realized his potential for power over others. Once he got a taste for power and life in the city (and the gains he'd made financially and materially in his position as prison guard) he no longer wanted to be a peasant from the village, but instead wanted to live the life of Riley in the city complete with a 14 year old honey that he wanted to marry. The problem was his marriage to Soraya, and how to get rid of her; ultimately with no way out of the marriage, he turned to Sheik Hassan. And this is when Soraya's life went from one of abuse to one of utter horror.There are a couple of things worth mentioning. First, there is no doubt that this event actually happened, and there is no doubt that stoning as a punishment for adultery is a reality among some Muslim fundamentalists in some areas. You can go to any human rights organization's website and find out all that you want to know about it there and to be fair, you can go to the website of Al-jazeera (an Islamic news organization) to read about recent developments about stoning as well. It is also an abominable practice that is beyond my scope of comprehension in the realm of human cruelty.Second, there's no doubt in my mind that as far as the story this book tells, the stoning of Soraya M. a) reflects a plan conceived by a few misogynistic individuals who deliberately used the existing Sharia laws for their own personal gain and b) was allowed to happen as a result of an abuse of power in this small village.To get the full story, you need to read the book. It is a difficult story but an eye-opening one that you will probably not
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Suvorov More than 1 year ago
This was like a bucket of cold water thrown in my face. Although I know this goes on, reading the story of one specific woman made it so much worse. I knew how it was going to end but found myself hoping and praying that someone would do something. This book made me appreciate my freedoms even more than I already do. I was so disgusted with how an entire community knew the truth and not only said nothing, but went right along with it. They participated. I went through so many emotions while reading and then later thinking about this story. I don't even know how to explain it. Be prepared to be outraged, disgusted, sick and more. This book pulls no punches and the actual stoning is described in vivid detail. It almost seems vulgar, but is so important because I think we sometimes don't completely grasp the full extent of this vicious and barbaric practice.
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Needed to get to the point. Didnt finish the book
jennifer durning More than 1 year ago
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This was an amazing read. Its been a weeks since ive read the book and i still cant get the thoughts out of my head. Freidoune Sahebjam Did a great job telling the world Soraya's Story.
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Massiee2003 More than 1 year ago
This book is so amazing, people need to read this book so Soraya can tell her story and help women who are in the same dangers that she was in.
JeninCA More than 1 year ago
I read the book and saw the movie. It is a thought provoking and hard look into the lives of women in Muslim countries. They are considered property and have no rights. As a woman and a mother, I can't even begin to imagine the horror this poor woman endured at the hands of her husband.
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whisper_hello More than 1 year ago
Ok so im only 14 and most adults tend to just assume that children, especially teens don't know what their talking about. I might be a child but i am a girl and the circumstances in this book show exactly why we need to be fighting in the MIDDLE EAST. Women are treated as second class citizens over there and what's more, property. I just can't stand people who are all "make love not war" I mean what the heck, stuff like this is going on and we are just supposed to sit on our lazy butts and do nothing about it. No wonder other countries don't have any respect for americans. As for our new so called wonderful president Obama well he's trying to make friends with the muslims. Yes, thats great lets make friends with the people who treat women with such utter cruelty and disrespect that I can't even fathom it. As for the book, I highly recommend it to everyone. If you are to lazy to read then guess what there's a movie about to hit theatres and you can see the trailer just about anywhere on the internet.