Rania Ibrahim, a 15-year-old girl, was found carrying a vest filled with 33 pounds of explosives in Baqouba, Iraq, last year. Those are the facts of the story we know. But there are two very differing accounts of how she got there. The U.S. patrol in Iraq says that Rania turned herself in after female relatives in her husband’s family strapped her down and put the vest on her against her will. But Iraqi police claim that they stopped Rania on the street because she was acting suspicious, and that’s when they discovered her explosive apparel.In court, Rania said that the first scenario is the true one—that her husband’s family forced the bomb vest on her. But in the end, the judge didn’t care. On Sunday, Rania was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. Still, that’s far better than the alternative if the explosives had been detonated.
Whether she was carrying the bombs against her will or not, Rania is part of a chilling trend in Iraq. Four times as many women in Iraq committed or attempted suicide bombings in 2008 compared to 2007. I would like to think Rania intentionally acted “suspiciously” so police would pick her up, rendering her unable to go through with the plan. But I can only hope that when she is released at the ripe age of 22, people will have realized the use of suicide bombing is a terrible method of fighting which solves nothing. [Huffington Post]