Thursday, June 05, 2008

My Letter to Iraq's Ambassador to the United States re: Rand Abdel-Qader and Leila Hussein

Below is the letter I am mailing to the Iraqi Embassy here in the United States. I will also try calling them tomorrow, and as with Paula Dobriansky at the State Department, attempt to get a fax number. To echo the title of my blog, this is probably all an 'exercise in futility,' but I feel compelled to at least try do what I can.

His Excellency Samir Sumaida'ie
Embassy of the Republic of Iraq
3421 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20007

Dear Ambassador Sumaida'ie,

As you may have read, several months ago a 17 year old girl in Basra named Rand Abdel-Qader was murdered by her father and two brothers for the "crime" of chatting in public with a British soldier. To date, the girl's murderous father Abdel-Qader Ali and two brothers Hassan and Haydar remain free, and incredibly, it appears that the father is still collecting his salary from his government job, in spite of the fact that he openly boasts of his crime.

To add to the tragedy of the situation, just a couple of weeks ago, Leila Hussein, the mother of Rand Abdel-Qader, was killed in a hail of gunfire as she was being escorted from a safe house after having left her husband. Enclosed are two articles detailing these events.

I am writing to you Ambassador Sumaida'ie, because I respectfully insist that Abdel-Qader Ali and his two sons Hassan and Haydar be brought to justice for the murder of Rand Abdel-Qader. While I am not a member of the Muslim faith, it is my understanding that Rand's murder by her father and brother is in violation of the tenets of Islam.

According to Article 2 of the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, (a) life is a God-given gift and the right to life is guaranteed to every human being. It is the duty of individuals, societies and states to safeguard this right against any violation, and it is prohibited to take away life except for a shari'ah prescribed reason, and (d) safety from bodily harm is a guaranteed right. It is the duty of the state to safeguard it, and it is prohibited to breach it without a shari'ah-prescribed reason.

Since Rand Abdel-Qader was not engaged in an illicit sexual affair, her father and brothers did not have a shari'ah prescribed reason for murdering her. Furthermore, as set forth in the Cairo Declaration referred to above, Rand Abdel-Qader's family, as well as the state of Iraq, have failed to protect her from bodily harm.

Now I understand that people are killed in Iraq every day and that the level of violence there is absolutely appalling. But Rand Abdel-Qader did not die due to a car bomb or some other incidence of random violence. She was murdered by her father and her two brothers. These men freely admit of their crime and yet they are still free today. The failure to prosecute these men for their crime sends a message to Iraqi society that it is acceptable to murder their daughters and wives virtually on a whim with the knowledge that these crimes will go unpunished. Abdel-Qader Ali and his sons must be punished for their crime in order to send a message that such atrocities will not be tolerated in the Republic of Iraq.

I understand that the situation in the city of Basra is rather volatile. That being the case, I urge the Iraqi government to do everything in its power to arrest and prosecute Abdel-Qader Ali and his sons, even if it means striking some kind of deal with whatever militia controls the Al-Fursi district in Basra. If justice is not served in this case, then Iraqi women will continue to be treated as disposable objects who can be discarded at will if they "do not know their place."

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your reply.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to commend you on your letter. I've blogged about this atrocity myself. I'm glad to see you're going a step further with your missive. I have linked from my NYC Atheist blog to your post here, in the hope that more people will make more noise about this so that eventually it will someday cease.

(an atheist can dream, can't he?)

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