According to news sources in the Baghdad, at least fourteen youths have been stoned to death in recent weeks by Shi’ite militia members. Their crime? Apparently, it’s “wearing Western-style ‘emo’ haircuts and clothing,” as depicted by the picture at the left of Ban, a teenage girl in the Shi’ite shrine city of Najaf (photo from the LA Times).
It seems Iraq’s interior ministry started a campaign last month, drawing attention to the budding ‘emo’ subculture, which it compares to “Satanism.” The ministry has given explicit orders to local police forces to “stamp it out.”
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.
For their part, come leading Shi’ite clerics have denounced the killings, preferring to use “peaceful and educational methods to correct any wrongdoings.” The latter sounds an awful lot like the recent “reeducation” campaign of 64 Indonesian youth that we told you about late last year.
For more on the Iraq story, read this report from Reuters.