“Like humans void of soul or mind, they jeered and yelled as they went about selecting their most jagged stones.” – David Hearne, excerpt from Hulagu's Web.
Stoning is a brutal and outdated practice that is kept alive only by Muslims under Sharia rule. Although it has been practiced since biblical times, every other culture has systematically ceased practice in favor of more humane forms of punishment. The torturous sentence leaves victim in agony. David Hearne, in his book Hulagu's Web, shows us how painful it can be. “Terror ripped through her mind…then suddenly first stone smashed into her…” (Hulagu's Web, 64) The only solitude punished has is that they will soon die.
Stoning is typically a punishment for adultery, although it can also be use for cases of incest and other sexual or “moral” crimes. Typically, a stoning victim is first wrapped in cloth and buried up to waist for men, or up to chest for females. Then crowd is to throw stones at victim. However, it is very important that, “… no stone should be thrown that should kill with first or second blow, or so small as a pebble to do no injury to condemned.” (Hulagu's Web, 64) Stoning is a unique form of punishment in that there is no single executioner. The simplistic act of gathering victim’s peers around him creates killers out of everyone.
Today, stoning is only practiced in Islamic culture in order to maintain submission of its women and those in lower cast. Only those impoverished or socially unimportant are punished by stoning. This barbaric act parallels those of 4th century Theodosius who punished those who did not share his religious views. He ordered all non-Christian temples be destroyed and that all heathens be executed unless they convert. His decree now lives on in hands of religious Islamic tyrants that now employ brutal act of stoning. These acts of barbarism and violence far outweigh moral transgression of those condemned.
Stoning has been in practice since biblical times. In Old Testament, God is quoted as requiring stoning as a punishment for breaking one of Ten Commandments, particularly for committing adultery. However, in New Testament, Jesus is believed to have replaced that type of punishment for a more humane punishment. He is quoted as having challenged, “he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” This is why stoning has slowly been replaced with punishments that require less involvement of ones peers. As we realize impact of such a brutal death, we realize that we have no right to take part in killing another when we too have sinned. This imparting of sin on all those who partake in it is very reason most cultures have abandoned practice.
We already see a disintegration of practice of stoning in Islamic culture. Only those under Sharia rule still practice it. In this culture, there is no distinction between religious and governmental law. Religion is governmental law. More information on Islam and Sharia law can be found at http://answering-islam.org.uk/. Among countries that still practice stoning are Afghanistan, Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and United Arab Emirates. Other Islamic countries denounce practice as inhumane and indicate that Qur’an provides no grounds for such a vicious practice. Those who practice stoning claim that it is demanded by Islam and have gone so far as incorporating it into their countries penal codes.
From these deep rooted laws regarding stoning, there have been a few recent cases of global interest where stoning has been received as a punishment. In December 2004 a woman in Iran was scheduled to be stoned to death after spending five years in prison for committing adultery. She was one of over 100 to be stoned to death in Iran last year alone. In Nigeria, a woman was sentenced to stoning after giving birth to a baby more than nine months after divorcing. To her good fortune, this sentence was overturned. More instances of recent convictions resulting in stoning can be found at http://www.religioustolerance.org/isl_adul1.htm. With international efforts to stop stoning, rulings are being overturned with more frequency, hopefully giving less credibility to Sharia law.