Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi “has been given bodyguards by police following a number of death threats since she returned to Iran last month, a close associate said Wednesday.”
Ebadi has no friends in high places. “Gholamreza Hasani, who represents Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in northwestern Iran, has described Ebadi as a ‘mentally retarded woman with secular thinking.'”
Evidence of her retardation: her calls for a reform of the Islamic Republic. Specifically, she has called for the “abolition of Islamic penalties and their replacement by judicial punishments. Ebadi called for an end to stoning and the amputation of limbs.” She has also “expressed grave concern about women’s rights in Iran, pointing to the fact that a woman’s life is officially considered only half as valuable as a man’s and that a woman’s divorce rights are far weaker than her husband’s.”
Ebadi asserts that “after 20 years of legal studies I can say definitively that with a correct interpretation of Islam human rights can be respected. The problem is the interpretation.”
I would like to learn from her the correct interpretation of, say, this passage from the Qur’an that does seem to assume that one man is worth two women: “. . . get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her” (Sura 2:282).
But more important than the challenges Ebadi will face in convincing radical Muslims that her interpretation of Islamic theology and law is correct is the fact that they would seem to prefer to face her with guns rather than with discussion points.