More than 90 Iraqi students have been stoned to death for their Emo haircuts by religious extremists in Baghdad in the past month after Iraq's interior ministry dubbed it 'devil worshipping'.
Iraq's Moral Police released a statement on the interior ministry's website condemning the 'emo phenomenon' among Iraqi youth, declaring its intent to 'eliminate' the trend.
The move is part of a wider clampdown on young people taking on what government officials call 'Western appearances' in Iraq.
Since the statement was published religious extremists have been harassing and killing teenagers with 'strange' or 'emo' appearances.
A group of armed men dressed in civilian clothing led dozens of teenagers to secluded areas a few days ago, stoned them to death, and then disposed their bodies in garbage dumpsters across the capital, according to activists, activists told the Cairo-based al-Akhbar website.
The armed men are said to belong to 'one of the most extremist religious groups' in Iraq.
'First they throw concrete blocks at the boy's arms, then at his legs, then the final blow is to his head, and if he is not dead then, they start all over again,' one person who managed to escape told Al-Akhbar.
Iraq's moral police was granted approval by the Ministry of Education to enter Baghdad schools and pinpoint students with such appearances, according to the interior ministry's statement.
The exact death toll remains unclear, but Hana al-Bayaty of Brussels Tribunal, an NGO dealing with Iraqi issues, said the current figure ranges 'between 90 and 100.'
Source: Mail Online, March 10, 2012
'Emo' killings raise alarms in Iraq
|Emo girl and boy|
BAGHDAD — Young people who identify themselves as so-called Emos are being brutally killed at an alarming rate in Iraq, where militias have distributed hit lists of victims and security forces say they are unable to stop crimes against the subculture that is widely perceived in Iraq as being gay.
Officials and human rights groups estimated as many as 58 Iraqis who are either gay or believed to be gay have been killed in the last six weeks alone — forecasting what experts fear is a return to the rampant hate crimes against homosexuals in 2009. This year, eyewitnesses and human rights groups say some of the victims have been bludgeoned to death by militiamen smashing in their skulls with heavy cement blocks.
A recent list distributed by militants in Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City neighborhood gives the names or nicknames of 33 people and their home addresses. At the top of the paper are a drawing of two handguns flanking a Quranic greeting that extolls God as merciful and compassionate.
Then follows a chilling warning.
"We warn in the strongest terms to every male and female debauchee," the Shiite militia hit list says. "If you do not stop this dirty act within four days, then the punishment of God will fall on you at the hands of Mujahideen."
It's not clear why the killings have stepped up in recent months. Many Iraqis are religiously conservative and have struggled against the western influence that has infiltrated their once-closed society in the wake of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Like many places in the Muslim world, homosexuality is extremely taboo in Iraq. Anyone perceived to be gay is considered a fair target, and the perpetrators of the violence often go free. The militants likely behind the violence intimidate the local police and residents so there is even less incentive to investigate the crimes.
Emo is short for "emotional" and in the West generally identifies teens or young adults who listen to alternative music, dress in black, and have radical hairstyles. Emos are not necessarily gay, but they are sometimes stereotyped as such.
To Iraqis, "Emo" is widely synonymous with "gay."
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Source: Deseret News, March 11, 2012
Iraq militia stone youths to death for "emo" style
(Reuters) - At least 14 youths have been stoned to death in Baghdad in the past three weeks in what appears to be a campaign by Shi'ite militants against youths wearing Western-style "emo" clothes and haircuts, security and hospital sources say.
Militants in Shi'ite neighborhoods where the stonings have taken place circulated lists on Saturday naming more youths targeted to be killed if they do not change the way they dress.
The killings have taken place since Iraq's interior ministry drew attention to the "emo" subculture last month, labeling it "Satanism" and ordering a community police force to stamp it out.
"Emo" is a form of punk music developed in the United States. Fans are known for their distinctive dress, often including tight jeans, T-shirts with logos and distinctive long or spiky haircuts.
At least 14 bodies of youths have been brought to three hospitals in eastern Baghdad bearing signs of having been beaten to death with rocks or bricks, security and hospital sources told Reuters under condition they not be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Nine bodies were brought to hospitals in Sadr City, a vast, poor Shi'ite neighborhood, three were brought to East Baghdad's main al-Kindi hospital and two were brought to the central morgue, medical sources said.
Six other young people, including two girls, were wounded in beatings intended as warnings, the security sources said.
"Last week I signed the death certificates of three of those young people, and the reason for death I wrote in my own hand was severe skull fractures," a doctor at al-Kindi hospital told Reuters. "A very powerful blow to the head caused these fractures which totally smashed the skull of the victim."
A leaflet distributed in the Shi'ite Bayaa district of east Baghdad seen by Reuters on Saturday had 24 names of youths targeted for killing.
"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," the leaflet said.
Another leaflet in Sadr City bore 20 names. "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.
In a statement last month the interior ministry said it was monitoring "the 'emo' phenomenon, or Satanism" which it said was spreading through schools, particularly among teenage girls.
"They wear tight clothes that bear paintings of skulls, they use school implements with skulls and wear rings in their noses and tongues as well as other weird appearances," it said.
After reports of the stonings circulated on Iraqi media, the interior ministry said this week that no murders on its files could be blamed on the reaction to "emo".
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Source: Reuters, March 10, 2012