By Stefanie Schappert
Special to The Clyde Fitch Report
Four years ago, an Iranian woman named Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was convicted of engaging in “illicit relationships” with two men after the death of her husband. The Sharia court promptly sentenced her to five years in prison and 99 lashings. Later, a second court overrode the first, upped the charges to adultery and sentenced Ashtiani to death by stoning. Actually, to be buried neck-deep in sand and then stoned.
Now, the Iranian courts, due to international outrage and media attention, have withdrawn the stoning sentence. But that’s not to say Ashanti will live — in fact, many people are predicting she will be hanged instead, and now Iran has blacked out all media outlets attempting to even report the story.
So, what does this have to do with Lady Gaga? And why are women and gay men her biggest fans? Because she represents female empowerment to the extreme. And female empowerment is something that Muslim nations do not respect — not only do they not allow it, they fear it, punish it and, in the end, try to destroy it. I spent my July 4 at a Lady Gaga concert, loving every minute of it. My sister and I waited six months for the concert; we dressed up in high heels, heavy makeup and short dresses, and danced around with thousands of other fans, some wearing nothing but sunglasses and yellow crime-scene tape wrapped around their body. Some obviously think it’s all ridiculous and that Lady Gaga is some kind of fool, but no normal person thinks that she — or her fans — should be sentenced to 99 lashes for expressing their femininity. Not even for a sparkler-shooting bra that, by the way, Gaga wore with matching sparkler-shooting bikini bottoms. But, joking aside, being a woman born into Western society, I know how lucky I really am. Our female counterparts in so many predominately Arab nations are treated like second class citizens. The latest scenario in Iran is just a sad reminder of how far we need to fight for women’s rights in other parts of the world.
Ashtiani’s situation makes me wonder how so many women in this country talk about respecting other cultures yet seem conveniently to forget what oppressive regimes stand for. The liberal philosophy is to try and understand, to compromise, to negotiate with these cultures. But how can we even accept another nation that blatantly accepts the practice of raping and killing women for perceived injustices against society?
It’s more than just a difference of opinion. The way of Muslim rule goes against every grain of what we, as a society, accepts as humane and just.
And in the end, we are right, plain and simple.
Think About It
Death by stoning has a barbaric partner in honor killings, where females, typically, are killed by related males for dishonoring their family name.
Earlier this month, British actress and Harry Potter star Afshan Azad, who is Muslim (pictured at left), was beaten up by her brother and father, who are now standing trial for threatening to kill her. Her “crime”? Dating a Hindu. And you thought it was just terrorist extremists who acted this way. How do you negotiate or compromise with that?
According to the Washington Times, Sharia law states that “leaving the Islamic faith or being too un-Islamic is cause for death.” The Times also reports that Islamic doctrine “explicitly allows the murder of family members and non-Muslims without punishment.” In 2008, British police released data showing that up to 17,000 women are victims of honor-related violence, including murder, each year in the U.K. And they say it’s only the tip of the iceberg — that the real level of violence might be 35 times higher than the number of cases reported. Meanwhile, some Muslims are pushing for Sharia to be adopted within British law.
The U.S. has also seen its own share of Muslim-related violence in recent years. Remember the founder of the supposed moderate Muslim TV station in Buffalo decapitating his wife last year because she asked for a divorce? How about the father who ran over his daughter with a car in Arizona because she was too Western? How do you think they’d feel about a Lady Gaga concert?
In reaction to the latest news, the group Stop the Islamization of America has taken out ads in Chicago to help Muslim girls right here in America who feel threatened by their families. At least someone is paying attention — I just wish it was moderate Muslims speaking out against the extreme practices of their own. There are a few groups and some great documentaries by Muslim women trying to raise awareness — but few is the key word.
Law and Order, Sharia-Style
Over the years I have clipped and saved various articles on topics that have resonated with me for one reason or another. Back in 2003, for example, I clipped a New York Times article to remind me how lucky I was to have been a woman born in this country. The article was about a Nigerian peasant woman, Amina Lawal, sentenced to death by stoning under Sharia law for sleeping with a man and having his baby out of wedlock. The woman was divorced. Luckily, with a great deal of worldwide media attention and pressure from women’s groups, the sentence was reversed and Lawal was spared. But what struck me as so laughable about the entire case was the reasoning behind her exoneration. Aside from the fact that the man she supposedly slept with denied the allegations and that police produced no witnesses to the “fornication” (did you know Sharia law requires four people to actually witness the dirty deed?), the judges acquitted Lawal because of the “sleeping embryo” theory, in which Sharia law says that a baby can gestate for up to five years inside the mother. Under this scenario, therefore, Lawal’s former husband could have been the father of her baby. Wow, that is some solid investigative police work, don’t you think?
All of this went on while lawyers for both sides of the case, staying true to Sharia law (sarcasm), wore white powdered wigs and black gowns, mimicking British courts as well as that of our own forefathers. And the four-judge panel wasn’t even unanimous in its vote — one judge saw nothing wrong with the original sentence — they were even thoughtful enough to postpone Lawal’s execution until after her baby stopped breastfeeding (more sarcasm). I mean, you can’t make this stuff up, it was so ridiculous. The year 2003 was not the Dark Ages, for Pete’s sake –can you say “DNA test”? Oh, and just in case the gays feel left out, that same week, in Nigeria, a man was stoned to death for committing sodomy.
So, what’s the point? Sharia is f@#%ed, plain and simple. And it’s coming to a theater near you. What are you going to do about it? We are the country of freedom. Are you going to let psycho Muslim extremists break our laws in the name of Allah? This has already become a huge problem in Europe, and it’s not going away. You need to decide what is more important, standing up for America’s core values of freedom and equality or letting a warped Islamic culture hijack our way of life because you’re afraid of offending a group that thinks nothing like us and wants to destroy our way of life.
I say go Gaga.
For the latest news on Ashtiani’s case or to find out how to help, go to AWID.org.
Stefanie Schappert is a freelance journalist based in New York. A staunch conservative in a self-professed city of liberals and the military wife of a Green Beret, she created Lipstick Conservative to share her unique viewpoint on politics and culture. Schappert is also reporting on the Tea Party movement for the New York edition of the Examiner.com. Other credits include Fox News Channel and NY1 News. Schappert’s conservative viewpoint came into sharp focus following the events of September 11, 2001, the resulting political climate, and living through her husband’s multiple deployments to the Middle East. This former NFL cheerleader and lifelong dancer is known to hang out with quite a liberal crowd and has been the buzz kill during many a dinner party. Contact Stefanie or learn more at lipstickconservative.com.
Lipstick Conservative does not necessarily represent the views of The Clyde Fitch Report.