I was walking my two puppies, entirely focused on the job of making sure I cleaned up after them, like a good neighbor should, when someone bumped into me, knocked me to the ground, and yelled, “Watch where are you going? You blind?”

I turned around to apologize when I saw my friend doubled up laughing.

“You sure have a sense of humor. I almost cracked my head against the puppies’ mailbox,” pointing to the fire hydrant.

“Puppies’ mailbox,” he stopped laughing long enough to ask.

“Yeah, that’s their mailbox. They were checking their P-mail.”

He resumed laughing.

“Tell you what. Dump the puppies and buy me lunch, and I’ll give you a fascinating report from home. I know you haven’t been to Iran for a while, and I just returned yesterday. I’ll give you an exclusive so you can write about it and keep raking it in.”

“The way I have been raking it in with my writings, if I buy you lunch, my pups must go hungry. And I won’t do that to them.”

“That bad, huh?”


“How about you dump them and just buy me some coffee?”

“I buy you coffee, then I’ll have to watch you drink it.”

“That bad?”

“No, but not all that good either.”

“Wow, and some Muslims believe you’re in the pay of the AIPAC and Israelis, the way you defend the Jews and bad-mouth Islam.”

“Speaking truth is bad-mouthing, I suppose. People don’t like to hear the truth. Cause it’s often bitter. If I wanted to be in the pay of anybody, I would choose the Saudis. My second choice would be the damned Iranian Mullahs who steal our money and support every Islamist thug anywhere in the world. The Israelis? Get real.”

“Some Muslims call you Islamophobe while some call you racist and many worse things.”

“Right. You know better. I am simply an Ex-Muslim who has become Ex because, from the minute my brain got functional enough, I saw serious issues with Islam from its inception to this very day. The Islamic justice system, in particular, bothered me a great deal. And you’re a lawyer, and I have talked to you about it many times.”

“Are we gonna stand around and watch your puppies check every tree and fire hydrant, or will you buy me a cup of coffee?”

“Tell you what. Come to my place, and I’ll make you a cup of instant coffee. I hope you don’t ask for cream. I don’t have any. Not even that chalky stuff they peddle as creamer.

We headed for my place.

“So you don’t think much of Islam and the Islamic justice system?”

“I believe the Islamic justice system perfectly fits the rest of Islam. It is a mockery. I have told you that before. No point rehashing the old stuff.”

“No rehashing. I’ve got some new stuff for you. My souvenirs from my latest visit home.”

“Okay, I’m listening.”

“A week before leaving for home, I started wearing the Islamic hijab…”

“Did I hear you right? You, a man, wearing an Islamic hijab?”

“Yeah. Don’t get so literal. I started growing stubbles. That’s a form of male hijab-faithful Iranian Muslim sport. It’s wearing your religion on your face.”

“Okay, I get it. But why?”

“Cause I wanted to interview a high-ranking Islamic judge—Hujat-ul-Islam—and having the stubbles would make me seem a devotee and give more leeway to ask some pointed questions.”

“Okay. Got that. Go on.”

“Fine. You’ve heard of ‘trial by fire’”?

“Yes, sort of.”

“I bet you haven’t heard of ‘trial by noose.’”

“No. Never been to law school. But, have heard of trial by pain in the neck.” I’m getting a bit annoyed at the guy.

“Close, not the same thing. Want to know what trial by noose is?”

“No, I want deliverance from the trial of putting up with you.”

“Are you insinuating I’m trying you?”

“No, I am not insinuating; I am saying right out you are.”

“Bear with me. You’ll love what I’ll be telling you. Guaranteed.”


“I got an audience with a prominent Islamic judge and asked him many legal questions. They used a great deal of tact to avoid offending him. I didn’t want to end up in the slammer, understand?”


“I said to him, Your Person, people in America, where I practice law, have a terrible misunderstanding of the Islamic Justice system. For instance, they claim lawyers of prisoners of conscience are routinely denied access to their clients. He got offended and said, ‘No truth to it. We don’t incarcerate anyone unless they are guilty. When a lawyer, a paid shyster—that’s what all lawyers are—shows up to wiggle him out, we give the lawyer unlimited access to the criminal. We send him to live in the same cell with his client until he is fully convinced of the criminal’s guilt.”

“Hey, that’s good. Very hospitable of them.”

“Yeah. I gathered my courage and said, ‘Your Person, they, the Americans, dare to call Islamic courts kangaroo courts. He became agitated and screamed, ‘See, there is no limit to the slander and untruth these evil infidels shower on us. How could we possibly have kangaroo courts when we don’t even have kangaroos?”

“You’re sharing all this with me, gratis? Why don’t you write a book about it and make a fortune.”

“You don’t make a fortune writing books unless you are a big cheese. I know you have written books, and you can’t buy me a cup of coffee and serve me this black poison?” He pushes his barely-touched coffee away so hard that it spills over my rug.

My pups, on cue, run to the spill, sniff at it briefly, and return to gnawing on my rug’s fringe in between bouts of wrestling.

“See what I mean? Even the pups declined your hospitality. Besides, they’re doing just fine feasting on your rug. You could’ve bought me lunch.”

“Wrong. That’s their snack. They’re babies and require protein. Don’t you have better things to do? Like chasing an ambulance?”

“I’ll ignore that and go ahead and enlighten you about trial by the noose. It is a system of justice used extensively by the Mullahs. According to His Person, it bypasses all the complicated so-called due process and gets to it. A man suspected of a major infraction stands on a stepladder with a noose around his neck. The executioner kicks the stepladder away. He said that if the party were guilty, his neck would snap. If he is innocent, the rope breaks.”

“Hey, that’s very good. Very good.”

“So far, no one has seen the rope break. The Hujat-ul-Islam proudly claimed that it shows their unerringness in their judgment. He said there have been times, very rarely, that the rope has broken instead of the neck. You have to take their word for it like you do everything else they preach as Quran truth.”

“Well, that’s edifying.”

“See, you stick with me and learn a great deal.”

“Tell you what, when it comes to sticking, I want you to stick it; I mean, stick with someone else and leave me in my ignorance.”

“I’ll ignore that again. That’s the price all wise people pay in discharging their duties. All they get is insult, ingratitude, and sometimes death. Didn’t that happen to Socrates?”

“If you keep this up, it might happen to you by this ungrateful me.”

“Don’t be sore for spilling coffee on your rug. It masks what your puppies freely discharge on it. Now, let me go on. Do you know anything about ‘trial by missiles’?”

“No. I told you. Never been to law school.”

“Okay. It is another form of Islamic trial used mostly for women, particularly women adulterers. Well, you’ve gotta love it. It is completely legal for any married man to have sex with an unlimited number of women concurrently or consecutively through the farcical provision of temporary marriages. But if a married woman is even suspected of making love to a man, she gets the trial by missiles, more commonly known as stoning.”

“Yeah, barbaric.”

“Well, they don’t think so. It’s not simply burying the woman up to her neck and unleashing psychopathic thugs to stone her to death, he told me. No, there are safeguards and stipulations. They limit the size of the stones the mob may use to bombard the woman. They also draw a line some twenty meters away from the woman. No one is allowed to cross that line and have a better crack at her. There are no limits on the number of stones, however. Bushels and bushels full of them are set up at the firing line.”

“Now, I call that safeguard Islamic style. Isn’t it just wonderful?

“Just like the trial by the noose thing, they say if the accused woman is innocent of the charges, and she is still alive twenty-four hours later, then they’ll dig her up and let her go.”

“Yes, lovely indeed.”

“Get this. Again, he assured me that some women had occasionally survived trials. That is, a wrongly accused woman had actually survived the stoning. When he saw me incredulous, he explained how it could’ve happened. He said a host of invisible angels sent by Allah surrounded her and deflected the fusillade. The angels also gave her water and food and kept her company overnight. No one in living memory has seen anyone survive the stoning for more than an hour or so.”

“Right. Twenty-four hours of being buried up to the neck and receiving the barrage of stones and surviving it? That doesn’t prove innocence. It certainly qualifies as an outright lie fabricated by the thugs of Allah.

“Well, I’m with you on that. I thought I would ask him another question. So I said to him, ‘Your Person, the Westerners harp a great deal about the status of women. They say women in Islam are worth half of men, they have no right to divorce, and if ever dare to report being raped, four witnesses are required to substantiate their claim. Also, why are men allowed multiple wives while women are limited to only one husband? Why the disparity between the status of the sexes, Sir?’ The man sure had a temper. His neck vein bulged, and he yanked at his own beard so hard, I thought he might rip a chunk of it out and said, it is ordained in the holy Quran. It stipulates that men are rulers over women. And for excellent reasons. Men marrying multiple wives is a way of ensuring no woman is left unsupervised and uncared for. Many men are often killed in wars, and a surplus of women must be dealt with. Women also are deficient in numerous ways. They are not only physically weaker than men; they are prone to mental errors. Precisely the reason that a woman’s claims need not be taken seriously unless four witnesses confirm them. Women’s main function is to bear and raise children. They require supervision to keep them in their place.”

“Enough to make me puke.”

“Hold it until I leave. There is much more. I’ll tell you the rest of it later. Got to go chase an ambulance,” he says and dashes out.

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