Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Along Came A Spider

Along Came a Spider: The story of Saeed Hanaei

I've just seen a documentary that reminded me of how lovely it is to have a God who loves all sinners and who doesn't judge people-- especially women-- as "moral corrupters."

It's an Iranian film about a serial killer who went on a rampage killing 16 women in 2000 and 2001. The women were prostitutes. Many were drug addicts. I don't know if you've seen the film The Circle, which is a great film about how women are treated in Islamic society. In Islamic societies, a raped woman or a woman whose husband has chosen another wife and deserted her, or a widowed woman whose in-laws don't like her...are victims who are treated very badly and cruelly. They are like many of the women prostitutes found in the Bible, women whom God loved very much but whom the world judged.

We westerners often forget what a wonderful blessing Jesus brought us. Sure, we have male chauvinist pigs and all that. But we do not systematically equate women with moral corruption. In the west for instance, prostitution is considered either a victimless crime or a situation where both parties (male and female) are equally sinful. Not so the Islamic countries.

Saeed Hanaei was a soldier in the Iran-Iraqi war and when he returned he was so upset at seeing how evil the world had become that he decided to kill prostitutes. He knew things were going to the devil when he could see women's hair peeking out from the front of their scarf and from under the back of their scarf.

We see many interviews with his family, friends, etc. Most of them consider him a martyr who followed Islamic law by trying to free the soil world of the evil "waste of blood." (Waste of blood is a term meant for someone who deserves to die. A person who changes from being a Muslim to being a Christian would be "a waste of blood" for instance.) In his interview, Saeed himself is convinced he is a martyr. The only person who says that "we are all sinners" and we shouldn't kill other people is a man who said killing a prostitute is not in the Koran (it is definitely in the koran! the reporter mentions that the Koran states that all prostitutes must be killed.) and he sounds like someone who is influenced by the west, by a Christian neighbor, or who hasn't read some of the more judgemntal parts of the Koran. Everyone --including the very chilling scary son of Saeed-- seems to think of themselves as the height of holiness and goodness. There is no self-judgement in all this.

Sometimes I consider myself morbidly introspective. I'm always thinking about my sins. It was odd to see an entire culture where people sit around thinking about other people's sins...and who actually feel it's right to kill people who sin...especially if the sinner is a woman.

Saeed gets hanged in the end. A good thing too. And yet, what is that one death if he represents such hatred and fear of women! I have many friends who read the Koran. But they read it with a Christian mindset in a western Christianized world. They see Allah through the eyes of a Christian. While Allah says in the Koran that no murderer can ever go to heaven, my friends don't see this. They seem to not realize that Allah has one hundred names and not one of those names is "God is Love."

As I watched I was reminded of the lovely fact that Jesus came into the world to save those who consider themselves sinners. God loves the outcast. This is why it is often the wounded and rejected in other societies who become Christians. For instance, the higher castes in India do not become Christians generally. It is the Dalit, the untouchable outcaste who sees and needs a Loving God. I thought of all those prostitutes and rejected women in Islamic societies. Would they turn toward a loving God even though they had been indoctrinated against Christianity, Jews, the Bible and the cross? Who knows?

Carole McDonnell Wind Follower June 2007 Juno

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