The Corner

Our Friends the Iraqis

Radio Derb listeners may recall my segment two weeks ago on the murder of a 17-year-old girl in Basra, stomped and stabbed to death by her father and brothers after she had been seen talking to a British soldier. The father and brothers are now local heroes. The police detained the father for a short time, then sent him on his way with their congratulations. The mother, Leila Hussein, in a singular act of courage, left her husband, telling a British newspaper that: “I would prefer to be killed than sleep in the same bed as a man who was able to do what he did to his own daughter.”

Now comes the news that Leila Hussein was murdered while trying to arrange an escape from Iraq.

 … she was on her way to meet the person who would help her escape when a car drew up alongside her and two other women who were walking her to a taxi. Five bullets were fired: three of them hit Leila, 41. She died in hospital after futile attempts to save her.

Here is an extract from the Radio Derb transcript on the original incident.

You might have heard of the case of Ali Abdel-Qader, but if you haven’t, or if you have but can bear to hear it again, here it is. Mr Abdel-Qader is a modest middle-class Iraqi, 46 years old, an employee in the government health department. He lives in a pleasant house in the city of Basra.

Mr Abdel-Qader had a daughter named Rand, 17 years old and studying English at a local college. As well as being a student, young Rand also did volunteer work helping displaced families. The British Army in Iraq also helps out with this work. Rand met one of the British soldiers, a 22-year-old named Paul. They had several conversations over a period of four months. Mr Abdel-Qader got to hear about this. Outraged that his daughter had been seen in public talking to an infidel, an invader and a Christian, Mr Abdel-Qader stomped, suffocated and then stabbed his daughter to death. Mrs Abdel-Qader, the girl’s mother, called Rand’s two brothers, 23-year-old Hassan and 21-year-old Haydar, to restrain Mr Abdel-Qader as he was stomping on his daughter’s throat to break her windpipe. The two brothers, however, joined in, helping their Dad to dispose of their wayward sister. When she was dead, Rand’s shrouded corpse was tossed into a makeshift grave without ceremony as her uncles spat on it in disgust.

Mr Abdel-Qader was arrested, but left the police station a free man just an hour or so later with the praise and congratulations of the police ringing in his ears. As Mr Abdel-Qader explained to the London Guardian, quote: “Everyone knows that honour killings sometimes are impossible not to commit … The officers were by my side during all the time I was at the police station, congratulating me on what I had done.”

Mr Abdel-Qader is now a local hero. He has no remorse. Quote, and the Guardian reports that his voice was “swelling with pride” here: “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. 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.” …

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