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The Stoning of Soraya M. [Hardcover]

Freidoune Sahebjam
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 14 1994
Soraya M.'s husband, Ghorban-Ali, couldn't afford to marryanotherwoman. Rather than returning Soraya's dowry, as custom required beforetaking asecond wife, he plotted with four friends and a counterfeit mullah todispose ofher. Together, they accused Soraya of adultery. Her only crime was cookingfor afriend's widowed husband. Exhausted by a lifetime of abuse and hardship,Sorayasaid nothing, and the makeshift tribunal took her silence as a confessionofguilt. They sentenced her to death by stoning: a punishment prohibited byIslambut widely practiced. Day by day+sometimes minute by minute+Sahebjamdeftlyrecounts these horrendous events, tracing Soraya's life with searingimmediacy,from her arranged marriage and the births of her nine children to herhusband'sincreasing cruelty and her horrifying execution, where, by tradition, herfather, husband, and sons hurled the first stones. This is one woman's story, but it stands for the stories of thousandsofwomen who suffered+and continue to suffer+the same fate. It is a storythat mustbe told.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This resonant book portrays the ugliness of fundamentalist Islamic mob justice in Khomeini-era Iran. Sahebjam, an Iranian journalist based in France who has written critically of the regime, returned to his homeland under cover in 1986. While visiting a small town he calls Kupayeh, he learned how an innocent 35-year-old woman had been stoned to death for supposed infidelity. His thorough reporting, based on a further visit to the village, reconstructs Soraya's life and killing with much dialogue and interior monologue. Soraya gave birth to nine children in 14 years and her husband Ghorban-Ali also turned to prostitutes. He became involved in shady business deals and began to associate with Sheik Hassan, a criminal who was appointed Ayatollah Khomeini's local representative. When Ghorban-Ali, having fallen in love with another woman, accused his wife of infidelity, villagers lied to aid him and Soraya was left with no support in the town. Her two eldest sons sat on the male tribunal that declared her guilty, and she was stoned by a mob that included her father. This book refuses to let such horror go unremembered.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-While Sahebjam, an expatriated Iranian journalist, was in his native land on assignment for a French publication in 1986, he recorded this account. Zahra Khanum is an old woman whose niece Soraya was but one of over 1,000 people who were stoned to death in Iran in the last 15 years. Set solidly in a fundamentalist village, the story of Soraya's less-than-honorable husband; the false mullah, Sheik Hassan; and the events leading up to her stoning are relayed. The manipulation of government, church, and society by dishonorable persons; the lack of proof and villagers' support to save Soraya; and the mob mentality of the townspeople on the fateful day are all made clear. Students, parents, and teachers might want to discuss this work with Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery," or with historical events such as the Holocaust or the Salem witch trails. A powerful work that should generate thought in all of its readers.
Barbara Hawkins, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars stoning of soraya Nov. 3 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
this book describes the anti social lives of women, who are, have, and will not be allowed a voice. in this country it us believed that the men, can do whatever they want tote women without any retribution
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
You will be shocked by this sotry if you have basically adhered to la-la land stories and main stream best seller novels. Otherwise if you have travelled and have read other similar tragic stories and crimes committed again woman in most parts of the world, this is just another barbaric tragedy. What I found amazing was the review of the American reader who wrote that next time he/she hears "fuzzy nonsense about accepting all cultural diversity" he/she will remember this book.... How typical of an American to judge and comment on a culture and cultural diversity by just reading one book about it. Aren't similar crimes happening on a daily basis all over the world? If I remember correctly from living in the States for 7 years, New York City used to be called the world's murder capitat. Are gang rapes and murders that unheard of in the States? This book is not about an acceptable ritual or custom in Iran; this book is about dark crimes committed against single individuals.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Soraya, Fact & Fiction Feb. 13 2008
By S.B. Anthony - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a well written, compelling account of the ugliness of fundamentalist Islamic mob justice in Khomeini-era Iran. With no way of verifying its complete veracity - e.g., the author writes about Soraya's thoughts from her pit of impending slaughter - there is nothing in this book that conflicts with Islam's teachings through its Koran, Hadiths, and most importantly, the Sunnah of Mohammad. I'm pretty well numbed to the horror stories coming out of Islam, because of the conditioning of reading al kortoby, al tobary, ibn katheer, Jalalayn, and Ibn Abass (all available online), but this book still ripped at my heart with the mystery and tragedy of it all.

Of benefit to me, and maybe others, is it is a very fast read. Good backround on this village provides a foundational understanding (as much as anyone not living under Sharia can understand) of the herd-mentality, the dangers of its gender apartheid, and the absolute suffocating environment such ignorance breeds.

Fact or fiction, or a little of both, this story opens up a painful glimpse into a society so steeped in the misogynist teachings of Islam, it should drive us all into more than just a casual peek into the Koran. Dig deep into Ishaq, read Bukhari and Muslim as needed, then scratch your head that any religion so ensconced in 7th century superstition, is now a world threat.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating Aug. 5 2009
By Wanda I. Vrvilo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I wasn't surprised at how cruel people can be. Very disgusting to read about the men having so much power and women none. Very sad.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the movie. Feb. 5 2013
By june gatley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I saw the movie and didn't recover for months. I had to read the book. The movie was well done, but the book told the whole story.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very disturbing book Aug. 31 2012
By LoveIt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's a look at primitive laws, mob rule and a facets of a culture laced with psychopathic tendencies. What really annoyed me was the way Soyara accepted her fate so willingly without fighting it as if she deserved what she got. That annoyed me. Still it was a look at something akin to domestic violence and a society swept up in mob-like chaos.
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read Dec 27 2013
By Dee E, - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have the book as well as the movie. The book is very captivating and i finished it in a day. Such a very sad story but definitely one that needs to be heard. The movie follows the book pretty good but is very graphic. I recommend both. I believe the book is now out of print and may be difficult to find.
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