A few days ago Israel's Arutz Sheva (Channel 7), which runs an English Language site called Israel National News, published a report according to which a top Iranian cleric not only sanctioned the rape of prisoners, but also gave guidelines as to how to carry out the atrocity:
"Can an interrogator rape the prisoner in order to obtain a confession?" was [one] question posed to the Islamic cleric.
Mesbah-Yazdi answered: "The necessary precaution is for the interrogator to perform a ritual washing first and say prayers while raping the prisoner. If the prisoner is female, it is permissible to rape through the vagina or anus. It is better not to have a witness present. If it is a male prisoner, then it's acceptable for someone else to watch while the rape is committed."
This reply, and reports of the rape of teen male prisoners in Iranian jails, may have prompted the following question: "Is the rape of men and young boys considered sodomy?"
Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi: "No, because it is not consensual. Of course, if the prisoner is aroused and enjoys the rape, then caution must be taken not to repeat the rape."
A related issue, in the eyes of the questioners, was the rape of virgin female prisoners. In this instance, Mesbah-Yazdi went beyond the permissibility issue and described the Allah-sanctioned rewards accorded the rapist-in-the-name-of-Islam:
"If the judgment for the [female] prisoner is execution, then rape before execution brings the interrogator a spiritual reward equivalent to making the mandated Haj pilgrimage [to Mecca], but if there is no execution decreed, then the reward would be equivalent to making a pilgrimage to [the Shi'ite holy city of] Karbala."
One aspect of these permitted rapes troubled certain questioners: "What if the female prisoner gets pregnant? Is the child considered illegitimate?"
Mesbah-Yazdi answered: "The child borne to any weakling [a denigrating term for women - ed.] who is against the Supreme Leader is considered illegitimate, be it a result of rape by her interrogator or through intercourse with her husband, according to the written word in the Koran. However, if the child is raised by the jailer, then the child is considered a legitimate Shi'a Muslim."
The story went immediately viral over the web. Zionist bloggers, like Elder of Ziyon, transcribed it verbatim, some of them giving sanctimonious warnings that its contents might affect sensitive people. So did the widely read conservative site The Free Republic, which has exactly the same respectability as, say, Aftonbladet (see our previous post); and many other rightwing sites like this one.
The general comment was, this is how Islam is radically different from the West, what kind of animals could approve of this (expected answer: the 1.3 bn Muslims), it's a sick society, the Ayatollahs have sunk to new depths. Ultimately, it was agreed by most commenters that Israel should nuke Iran.
But the story is false. It was first published as a satirical piece in the Farsi-language site Balatarin, then picked up by Arutz Sheva as true fact, then disseminated by Hasbara peddlers (just in the first day there were over 300 blog posts reporting the, to them, excellent news).
Since Israel National News is a media conglomerate that publishes Israel's fourth most widely read newspaper, it would be logical for the Israeli government to slam it, in agreement with its stated policy that governments should condemn blood libels published by their countries' press. Also, Barack Obama should condemn The Free Republic, and, if possible, apologize to Iran.
Should I be holding my breath?