More details on the Iraqi government targeting “emo” and LGBT kids

March 20, 2012 by Bryne Yancey

More details on the Iraqi government targeting “emo” and LGBT kids

Some more details have emerged regarding the targeting of "emo" and LGBT teenagers in Iraq, which we first told you about on Mar. 9. According to this blog post linked by Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast, the Iraqi government has been complicit in the targeting, which has left at least ten but possibly as many as 90 teenagers dead:

"Beginning in August 2011, the Iraqi Interior and Education Ministries began talking about tackling the emo phenomenon within the country. On February 6, 2012, a police colonel gave an interview to the Iraqi News Network saying that the Interior Ministry was investigating the growth of emo youth in Baghdad. That was followed by an official statement by the Ministry on February 13, calling emos Satanists, who were a threat to society, which the Ministry was going to take care of. “Social police” were supposed to enter schools to combat the problem. That was followed by another announcement on February 29 that the Ministry was going to crackdown on the youth movement in Baghdad. Around the same time, Iraqi non-government organizations began noticing fliers being posted in three neighborhoods of the capital, Sadr City, Habibiya, and Amal warning people that they would face God’s punishment if they did not cut their hair, stop wearing Satanic clothing, hide their tattoos, and act like men. When the Iraqi media got wind of the story, they made the situation worse, by spreading rumors that some Iraqi kids were becoming Satanists, vampires, and breaking Islamic mores.

The new Iraq is full of contradictions. On the one hand, it has allowed space for kids to listen to Western music, and dress in new styles, because families now have the internet, are exposed to a plethora of media outlets, and have access to satellites and new televisions, which were limited in the past, because of international sanctions. At the same time, various Islamist groups have taken power, and their followers in the government and security forces have tried to crackdown on what they consider un-religious youth groups. Since the Interior Ministry has condemned emos, they cannot look to the authorities for help in this situation. They will likely have to go underground until the tide turns, and the situation is not so inflamed, so that they can once again dress how they like...

Six days later, security forces detained reporters from Russia Today for three hours who were trying to film a story about the emo killings. All of these reports about the Interior Ministry came after the Education Ministry, back in August 2011, told schools to stop the spread of emo culture. Then on March 18, it issued a statement saying that it was going to ask schools to enforce a dress code to stop the spread of emo culture."

TDB also reports (warning: extremely graphic images) that the kids are being killed with cinder blocks or hammers:

"Now they’re using blocks or rocks or hammers in the killing of young people and all kinds of bad people are to be killed on the pretext that we are servants of Satan or Massachin [Christians] —  blood militias run free every day and kill the flower of youth, all of whom are innocent of the charges that tarnish their image. I don’t know what to say because I am afraid and scared and now I am mentally ill because of the fear, and they even control mobile devices now, and external and internal checkpoints [on the surrounding roads and city streets ] are collaborating with the militias for fear of the flight of young people from Iraq or from Baghdad. I appeal to the humanity in you…"

We'll keep you updated as this story continues to develop.

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