There are no photos of 17-year-old Rand Abdel-Qader or "Paul," the British soldier she fell in love with, so this will have to do, as it's an image we have probably all probably allowed to enter our hippocampuses when the teenage infatuation reaches such a crescendo it starts to seem impossible that it won't end tragically — and suffice it to say, this post is tragic enough. Two months ago Abdel-Qader, an English speaking student from Basra, was beaten to death by her father Ali and brothers after she talked to "Paul" in public one day, and now, thanks to the Guardian we know that her father not only feels zero remorse and has the full support of the Basra police and social norms — "some honor killings are impossible not to commit," after all — he blames his wife's "bad genes" for causing his daughter to fall in love with a foreigner. (Bad genes! What, you thought the Shias believed in intelligent design?)
The wife has left Mr. Abdel-Qader and gone into hiding; he's been relieved of his duties but won't be charged with any crimes:
Abdel-Qader, 46, a government employee, was initially arrested but released after two hours. Astonishingly, he said, police congratulated him on what he had done. 'They are men and know what honour is,' he said...'I don't have a daughter now, and I prefer to say that I never had one. That girl humiliated me in front of my family and friends. Speaking with a foreign solider, she lost what is the most precious thing for any woman. 'People from western countries might be shocked, but our girls are not like their daughters that can sleep with any man they want and sometimes even get pregnant without marrying. Our girls should respect their religion, their family and their bodies.
'I have only two boys from now on. That girl was a mistake in my life. I know God is blessing me for what I did,' he said, his voice swelling with pride. 'My sons are by my side, and they were men enough to help me finish the life of someone who just brought shame to ours.'