TAMIU Professor's Book Examines Women Under Iran's Islamic Regime

A new book by a Texas A&M International University professor delves into the rarely explored area of women's treatment under the current Islamic Republic of Iran's criminal justice system.

Written by Dr. Hamid R. Kusha (photo), associate professor of criminal justice, the book is titled, The Sacred Law of Islam: A Case Study of Women's Treatment in the Islamic Republic of Iran's Criminal Justice System (Ashgate, 2002).

In the beginning four chapters, Dr. Kusha provides a thorough review of the history of the rise of Islam's Sacred Law, dating back to 610 C.E. In subsequent chapters, he explains the manner in which Islam's Sacred Law has been interpreted by the Iranian political regimes of the past and applied under the current, staunchly Islamic government of Ayatullah Khumaini and his clerical followers.

The main paradox discussed is how the essential teachings of the Islamic faith, which for centuries have been based on the ideals of justice and compassion for the underlings of society, are now being misused by a government that claims to follow the Sacred Law by applying a wide range of cruel and unusual punishments to women.

Kusha's book argues that as a result of this misapplication of the Sacred Law, coupled with social and economic oppression, Iranian women have been drawn to unprecedented involvement in crime, suicide and consumption of narcotics.

"The book shows that the system, created in the name of the Islamic legal tradition, is a total failure," Kusha said.

The author shows how the rates of narcotics-related crimes have skyrocketed in the post-Islamic Revolution (1979) Iran. The same applies to other crimes in which women participate such as homicide, aggravated assault and battery including intentional poisoning of their husbands and in-laws.

"Iran's post-Islamic Revolution data on the feminine commission of the five violent crimes makes Iran one of the most violent Islamic countries both in terms of female arrest rates and rates of commission," he states in the book, "No other Islamic country comes even close to Iran's rates."

Women are committing these crimes as a way to deal with the economic and social oppression they face, he said.

"For these crimes, women are still being punished by amputation of hands, flogging and public hanging," he said. "In the past two decades, 50 women have been stoned to death and eye gouging is still allowed," Kusha said.

Kusha said that although Islam does not preach violence, the current political regime, by trying to rebuild its society based on a fanatic interpretation of 7th Century Islamic concepts, is persecuting women with punishments akin to the Spanish Inquisition era.

Originally from Teheran, Kusha said that his 315-page book, intended for criminologists as well as general readers, provides a detailed view as to how a once oil-rich country with an authoritarian monarchy has now turned into a fundamentalist Islamic state which regularly resorts to medieval practices in its legal system in a dysfunctional economy that is consumed by political corruption and legal forms of oppression.

Kusha holds a Ph.D. in sociology and an M.A. in history from the University of Kentucky. His bachelor's degree in management was earned at the Abadan Institute of Technology in Abadan, Iran.

A faculty member at TAMIU since 1998, Kusha has also held teaching positions at Minot State University in Minot, N.D.; Maryville University of St. Louis, in St. Louis, MO, Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas and Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. He was also a graduate instructor at University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY.

His areas of research include comparative criminal justice system, sociology of law, international terrorism, and penology.

For further information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326-2180. University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Additional information on Dr. Kusha's book is also available at http://www.ashgate.com/

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu