Iraqi students stoned to death for emo fashion

Yahoo!7 March 12, 2012, 11:01 am


 Teenagers in Iraq are being stoned to death for wearing clothes and having haircuts associated with emo culture.

In the past three weeks, at least 14 youngsters have been killed in Baghdad in what seems to be an anti-western culture campaign orchestrated by Shi'ite militants, the Daily Mail reports.

The bodies showed signs of having been stoned to death with rocks or bricks.

The attacks began after Iraq’s Interior Ministry described emos as devil worshippers.

"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."

Derived from the word “emotional”, emo is a label used to describe a style of punk rock with pop elements and its followers.

Emo music originated in the United States, but has become extremely popular around the world.

In the neighbourhoods where the killings have taken place, militants have circulated lists naming more youths who will suffer the same fate if they don’t change their hairstyle and clothes.

"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 warning read.

Following media reports on the killings, the interior ministry said that that no murders on its files could be blamed on attacks on "emos".

"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," the ministry said in a statement.

"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."

None the less, Iraq's Moral Police released a statement on the interior ministry's website announcing their intent to 'eliminate' the trend.

“The Emo phenomenon, or devil worshipping, 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,” the statement read.

“They wear strange, tight clothes that have pictures on them such as skulls and use stationary that are shaped as skulls. They also wear rings on their noses and tongues, and do other strange activities.”

The exact death toll is unclear, but according to Hana al-Bayaty of Brussels Tribunal, an NGO dealing with Iraqi issues, over 90 youths have been murdered.

Photos of some of the victims were released on Facebook to strike fear among Iraqi teenagers.

Abdul-Raheem al-Rikabi, a representative for Ali al-Sistani (Iraq's most influential Shi'ite cleric,) told Reuters that the killings were “terrorist attacks”.

"Such a phenomenon, which has spread among young people, should be tackled through dialogue and peaceful means and not through physical liquidation," he said.