Published Mar 12, 2012Iraqi youths are reportedly being killed by the country's conservative militias for being "emo." Teens are apparently being targeted for their love of rock music and "alternative" clothing, and have been branded as devil worshippers by Iraq's interior ministry because of their tastes, according to human rights activists.
BBC reports that up to 58 teenagers have been beaten to death or shot at in the last month alone. Leaflets have also allegedly been distributed in Baghdad's conservative Shia neighbourhood of Sadr City targeting "emos," with the literature revealing the names of those the militias feel should be punished.
NME reports that popular attack methods including hitting victims over the head repeatedly with a brick, while other have reportedly been pushed off buildings.
Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr wrote on his website that emo youths are "crazy and fools" and listed that they "are a plague on Muslim society, and those responsible should eliminate them through legal means."
The term "emo" has been attached to homosexuality in Iraq, which in itself isn't illegal, but is still considered taboo.
"The Iraqi people look at you in a bad way," Iraq youth Mustafa told the BBC, explaining that he feels "threatened" when he wears all-black. "It is even worse when the Iraqi security for example arrest those in black or in the emo groups."
The interior ministry has not recorded any anti-emo or anti-gay killings, but said that the recent violence in the country can be linked to "revenge, or social, criminal, political or cultural reasons."