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Interview with Doctor Hosseingholi Hosseini - Nezhad: I have cancelled 10 stoning commands

Monday 29 September 2008, by admin

Feminist School: Doctor Hoseingholi Hosseini -Nezahd was born 1302 studied in Arak and continued his studying Law at Tehran University and went to work governing council and has a doctorate in Persian Literature and Law.

After the revolution he was commissioned to research and report on judicial laws of France, Swiss,UK and USA his research took him to Cairo which introduced him to works of scholars of law and interpretation of the Quran, such as Mohammad Abozareh and Abullrahman Badavi, he also studied in great length the works and interpretation of Imam Fakhr Razi and compared it with the Persian interpretations.

Doctor Hoseini Nezhad has spent 35 years in the service of the court, and since the revolution till 1363 he has acted in an advisory capacity, He married to Mehranguiz Manutchehrian (the first woman lawyer in Iran and was awarded the Human Rights Peace Prize in 1968 and The peace Prize of the Center of the World Peace Through Law in 1971), he is well versed in French and English and Arabic.

Image of Hosseini-Nezahd and Her Wife, Mehranguiz Manoutchehrian, winner of the Human Rights Peace Prize

Feminist School: As you are aware the activists of the Campaign for One Million Signatures are striving to reform the discriminatory laws for the last two years, we now have come up against the "Family protection Bill" moved by Mr Ahamdi Nejad’s government for ratification in the Islamic parliament. Different organizations that are active in the Campaign have formed a coalition to stop the ratification of this Bill. One of the many concerns that the campaign faces is the accusation by the establishment that our action is against Islam and religious law. In your opinion what the Campaign is trying to achieve does it contradict the religious law?

Hosseini- Nezhad: I have read the Campaign’s booklet on explaining the law provided and the demands of the Campaign do not contradict the religious law in any way. Hence if we accept the main issues in the context of the Quran and religious law this issue can be resolved, Quran stipulates that the connection exists between human thought and God, to elaborate on this, God states that whatever verse and riches that I provide, if you imagine and be content that what is provided is contrary to your social situation then you can reform it. Hence in this day and age the present laws on families are not acceptable; such as the blood money for women is half what it is for men or the inheritance for women is half of what it is for men so that women remain economically dependent on men, or if one assumes that all of the marriage rights are given to men. If it’s except this and we cannot understand or acknowledge the necessity of time so where does the divine law on matters of theology stand?

FS: Against your argument there is a counter argument which states that because for instance Inheritance is acknowledged in the Quran, even if the situation or time demands it, even then it cannot be changed.

Hosseini Nezhad: Inheritance is clearly stated in the Quran, but there are also 2 verses stated in conjunction to inheritance verse, which both verses state that there is a connection between thought of human and God and change is with human and or with God. In the verse of (Noor) Light: If human sees a commandment that is not in tuned with time and it is unsuitable then God will also see that as unsuitable and the right to change so it coincides with present time that is with human to do change. Therefore if you can distinguish the essence and content, then the rest can be sorted.

FS: In understanding interpretations you are on a higher level and at the same time for a long time and before the revolution you had experience as a judge, is it possible to talk about those years and experiences you had on issues to do with women?

Hosseini Nezhad: During the revolution I invited to sit at the tribunal and that was because during the shah’s reign I had freed some of those who had come to power after the revolution and they wanted to show their appreciation. First they asked to become a prosecutor, which I reminded them that I am not a prosecutor, I am a judge so they send me to tribunal. After the revolution I overturned 10 stoning orders as I had to decide on those matters and after research and study I canceled the orders. I have been in the service for 35 years and I have not even ordered one hanging because hanging means death hence hanging is not a punishment we are duty bound to reform not hang them. Similar to this I over ruled 10 cases of stoning to death. I remember one of the judges from Karaj complained that I over ruled a particular case and he said who is this boy you have put in charge who dismisses all our verdicts.

FS: By how much are we to refer to religious or laws in the Quran where as the human right laws or rules are codified?

Hosseini -Nezhad: To refer to codes of human right and Quran is not a contradiction, because Quran has no issues or problems with the modern laws. You see Quran states if a law is not in conjunction with the civilization of the society then we will change those laws.

In countries like America their foreign minister is a woman, in France the defense minister is a woman, in Argentina their president is a woman, in Germany they have voted the whole country to be ran by a woman Angela Merchel. We cannot say any more that hitting a woman is not an issue, no one except that if a woman argues, she should be bitten up, these are inadmissible and have to change and has nothing to do religious law because in Islam we have had important women and hence Islam is never against progression of women.
Hence this is wrong and should change, this issue has nothing to do with religious law, in Islam’s history we have had and we have important women, as a result Islam does not have anything against the progress of women. In the history Islam we have had women such as Aisha who was the commander of the army, so when a Muslim woman such Aisha where all the Muslims are to call her the mother of the believers and was the wife of the prophet, it is obvious she has a highly esteemed, I just want you to know that women are regarded highly in Islam.

FS: How come none of the Imam’s or the caliphs was women or how come women in Islamic countries never have key posts?

Hosseini Nezhad: You see why women did not become caliphs is something to do with those time’s. If you look at the history of Christianity is not as if women had a higher statues even though Mary had a high statues in the society. But when we look at the Christian world women have immense powers, every stage of history has its particular circumstances. Islam’s history has been as such and at the same time we have had prominent women in the higher level. Look at Pakistan and who was Benazir Bhutto!
Isn’t Pakistan an Islamic country? Please consider Bangladesh and look at other Islamic countries? And now please come back to your country, before the revolution the minister of education was a woman (Ms Farokh rou Parsa) wasn’t the ministry of women being run by Ms Mahnaz Afkhami? The judiciary was offered to my wife Mehrangiz Manouchehryan which she turned down. So you see in Islamic countries women are high achievers because Islam doesn’t prohibit that.

picture of Hosseini-Nezahd and Her Wife, Mehranguiz Manoutchehrian

see this interview in Persian

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