Reuters carried the following story last week: “A Pakistani couple were released Saturday after serving five years in jail for adultery, their only crime having been to fall in love and get married.”

First of all, what is this editorializing with “their only crime”? Why the sudden deviation from objective journalism as concerns the Muslim world?

Thankfully, the couple found a deviantly rational Muslim preacher, “who had conducted the marriage and dismissed the adultery case.”

Context: “Every year, hundreds of Pakistani women become victims of so-called honor killings for marrying without their families’ consent…”

To shed some light on the romantic troubles in the Muslim/Arab world, let’s refer to the one well-known piece of literature from there, Arabian Nights.

Essentially, the story is about a crafty girl named Scheherazade who, when it’s her turn to marry the king and sleep with him for one night before getting beheaded the next day, she decides she must be entertaining enough to the king that he might spare her life. So on that first night with her royal husband, she tells him a fantastical tale about something or other, which engages him enough to let her live another day. And so it goes for 1001 nights, until the king reluctantly falls in love with Scheherazade and lets her live happily ever after with him.

When I first heard this story as a child, I remember thinking, “Aw, he falls in love with her and spares her life; that’s so romantic. She wins his heart, and…and he doesn’t kill her? WAIT A SECOND! That’s messed up! The great Arabian love story is when the man don’t kill the woman?! That’s the Middle Eastern idea of romance?!”

Well, at least this prize married his women before having sex with them and throwing them away. That’s more than I can say for some liberal men I’ve dated.