Check out this map. In this day and age, this is nothing short of a shocker. I simply cannot believe the UN hasn’t got any binding laws against it’s usage such that it would contravene human rights regulations. Here are some interesting points from the article which accompanies this map:
3. Who is stoned to death, and why?
Stoning is used as a punishment for adultery, or zina. It is a method used to control the sexuality and bodies of both men and women, but women are more often the victims. The issue of stoning takes place within the much broader conversation about gender discrimination, women’s basic freedoms and culturally-justified violence against women. Simply put, women are more likely to be found guilty of adultery than men – because the hegemonic interpretations of Islamic law, personal status laws, poverty, and illiteracy among women all increase the likelihood of their conviction, either in a court of law or by the community.
Take Aisha’s story, for example. In 2008, Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, a 13-year-old Somali girl, was buried up to her neck and stoned by 50 men in front of 1,000 people at a stadium in Southern Somalia. Amnesty International reports that her father said she had been raped by three men, but was accused of adultery when she tried to report the rape to the Al-Shabaab militia who controlled the city.
Although Islam and Muslim codes of law are often used to justify the use of stoning as a punishment for adultery, there is actually no reference to stoning in the Koran. Furthermore, there are many prominent clerics and religious scholars who openly oppose the practice of stoning and have called it “Islamically unjustifiable.” For example, Grand Ayatollah Yousef Sanei, a very prominent Shi’a cleric in Iran, issued a fatwa (a religious edict) against the practice of stoning.
Although there is consensus within the international community that stoning violates a host of UN treaties and international human rights laws — including the fundamental right to freedom from torture — there are no legally binding commitments at the international level with regards to stoning.
So whilst other Islamic diktats are used to justify stoning, it seems as though there are no direct Koranic claims involving stoning. You’ve got to wonder about the moral dimensions of those involved in such a travesty.
UPDATE: H/T to Sergio Paolo Sider who pointed out the quite obvious references to stoning in the Good Book. Here are the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible’s comments:
What the Bible says about stoning
For touching Mount Sinai
Whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death.
For taking “accursed things”
Achan … took of the accursed thing. … And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. … So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger.Joshua 7:1-26
For cursing or blaspheming
For adultery (including urban rape victims who fail to scream loud enough)
If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city. Deuteronomy 22:23-24
For animals (like an ox that gores a human)
If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned. Exodus 21:28
For a woman who is not a virgin on her wedding night
If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her … and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: And the damsel’s father shall say … these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. … But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die. Deuteronomy 22:13-21
For worshipping other gods
If there be found among you … that … hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them … Then shalt thou … tone them with stones, till they die. Deuteronomy 17:2-5
If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers … thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die. Deuteronomy 13:5-10
For disobeying parents
If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother … Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city … And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die. Deuteronomy 21:18-21
For witches and wizards
A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:27
For giving your children to Molech
Whosoever … giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. Leviticus 20:2
For breaking the Sabbath
They found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. … And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones…. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses. Numbers 15:32-56
For cursing the king
Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die. 1 Kings 21:10
Note: There is an interesting story in John 8 about a woman caught in adultery. It is often used to show that Jesus was opposed to stoning. Unfortunately, Jesus doesn’t clearly say that he is, and the story may not belong in the Bible anyway, since it is not found in the oldest and best manuscripts.