It takes a nation to protect the nation
I have read reports from different sources that at least 14 young people were stoned to death in Baghdad in the last month.
This is being reported as a deliberate campaign by Shi'ite militants against kids who are dressed in 'emo' style. This subculture is widely perceived in Iraq as both gay and an expression of Satanism, say the reports.
According to Reuters, militants in Shi'ite neighbourhoods where these kids were attacked, had circulated pamphlets on Saturday morning naming at least 24 more youths who will be targeted for death if they do not change the way they dress.
"We strongly warn you, to all the obscene males and females, if you will not leave this filthy work within four days the punishment of God will descend upon you at the hand of the Mujahideen," this pamphlet reads.
Different reports are coming out about these attacks.
The majority of the youths who have been attacked have died from severe skull fractures after being beaten with rocks and bricks, although I have also read they are using concrete blocks.
Others, including two girls, were wounded in assaults, these were warnings…
There are others being targeted and this is a part of a larger trend in the area, where as many as 58 Iraqis believed to be gay have been bludgeoned to death with rocks in the past six weeks.
There were previous attacks in 2009 on those believed to be or known to be gay in Iraq.
Iraq's leading Shi'ite clerics are half-heartedly condemning the attacks. Abdul-Raheem al-Rikabi, the representative for Iraq's most influential Shi'ite cleric, Ali al-Sistani, dismissed the killings as "terrorist attacks." I will be curious to see if any of these domestic terrorists are apprehended and held to account.
Moqtada al-Sadr, a Shi'ite cleric who has described the emos as a "plague on Muslim society," has insisted that the youths be dealt with through the law. He has demanded that a community police force end the trend for good.
So it appears that ending the trend for good means disposing of these kids who don’t ‘fit in’ to this society….
It is important to note here that these killings have taken place since Iraq's interior ministry drew attention to the "emo" subculture last month by labelling it Satanism.
The interior ministry has ordered the community police force to stamp it out. If this is the case, then are they calling their community police force terrorists?
In response to the orders given to destroy this trend.. militants have issued leaflets with the names of emo kids who are in danger of being killed, or are these kill lists?
Another leaflet in Sadr City bore 20 names and warned, "We are the Brigades of Anger. We warn you, if you do not get back to sanity and the right path, you will be killed," it said.
So far reports say 14 youths have been brought to the hospital with fatal injuries from rocks and bricks, while 6 others were wounded as a ‘warning.’
Of course there is no official confirmation being supplied to the public that the deaths are indeed being linked to the victim's emo style. Hospital sources say they are "not authorized to speak to the media." Of course not, you might find yourself on a kill list next….
The interior ministry denies any connection and have released statements condemning the media for allegations:
Many media have reported fabricated news reports about the so-called ‘emo’ phenomenon — stories about tens of young people killed in various ways, including stoning. No murder case has been recorded with the interior ministry on so-called ‘emo’ grounds. All cases of murder recorded were for revenge, social and common criminal reasons.
Of course they were…..
Reports from Reuters say that 14 bodies were brought to three hospitals in eastern Baghdad. Security sources also have stated that six youth including two girls were wounded in beatings intended as warnings.
14 reported deaths but Hana al-Bayaty of Brussels Tribunal has said the current figure is much higher than that being reported to the public. They put the figures around 100 Iraqi teenagers being stoned or beaten to death for embracing Western Culture. (This was reported in an Arabic newspaper I March 2012)
“At least 90 Iraqi teenagers with emo appearances have been stoned to death by religious extremists in Baghdad in the past month after an inflammatory interior ministry statement dubbed it ‘devil worshiping’, activists have said.”
Iraq's Moral Police released a chilling statement on the interior ministry's website declaring its intent to "eliminate" the trend as soon as possible.” They have said it is detrimental to society and is regarded as a ‘danger’. Religious extremists reading these statements have been harassing and killing teenagers with ‘strange’ appearances.
Armed men dressed as civilians have led dozens of teenagers to secluded areas where they are being stoned to death, their bodies then thrown into dumpsters. These men are said to belong to “one of the most extremist religious groups” in Iraq.
One person who managed to escape told al-akbar that first they throw concrete blocks at the legs and arms of the kids, then a final blow to their face. If this doesn’t finish them, they will start over again.
Another 26-year old man from Mosul said that unknown assailants killed two members of his heavy metal band on March 8. "We don’t know who is behind this now, but for a long time, people have been accusing us of being Satanists. So this is not new, but now it has become murderous," he said.
What is even more disturbing is that Iraq’s ‘moral’ police were granted approval by the Ministry of Education to enter schools in Baghdad and point out students who have emo-type appearances. This is according to a statement by the interior ministry. It has been indicated by human rights groups that there is complicity with the Ministry of Interior in the killings.
Some young people have been arrested solely for wearing American jeans or having western haircuts.
While the Ministry is warning extremists, "not to step on public freedom of Iraqis", they are talking out of the other side of their mouth by issuing statements such as the one below:
The Director of the Moral Police of the Interior Ministry released a statement, saying "The 'Emo phenomenon' or devil worshiping is being followed by the Moral Police who have the approval to eliminate [the phenomenon] as soon as possible since it's detrimentally affecting the society and becoming a danger."
And this one:
Colonel Mushtaq Taleb al-Mahemdawi said: "The Emo Phenomenon was discovered a while back by members of our force in Baghdad. A report has been made and given to the Ministry of Interior to receive an approval to carry on with the investigation and to know how to eliminate the phenomenon."
He added: "The Ministry of Interior took this situation very seriously and received an approval from the Ministry of Education to set a plan under my full supervision and to allow us to enter schools in the capital."
"There are some cases of the spread of this phenomenon specifically among schools in Baghdad, but we are facing great difficulty in the lack of women on the force who would allow us to carry the investigation more accurately since the phenomenon is more popular among girls between the ages of 14 and 18."
I personally find this trend disturbing and am seeing reports of this type of activity or moral re-education of similar sub culture youth in other countries as well.. I welcome any comments, updates or clarification on this topic..