Highlights

 
Quotable
That meddling in other people's affairs...formerly conducted by the most discreet intrigue is now openly advocated under the name of intervention.
T.S. Eliot
Original Letters Blog US Casualties Contact Donate

 
December 19, 2007

'Bad' Women Raped and Killed in Southern Iraq


by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail

BAGHDAD - Women are being killed by militia groups in southern Iraq for not conforming to strict Islamic ways, the police say. And increased threats from militia groups are driving many women away from their homes.

Basra police chief Gen. Jalil Hannoon has told reporters and Arab TV channels that at least 40 women have been killed during the past five months in the southern city.

"We are sure there are many more victims whose families did not report their killing for fear of scandal," Hannoon said.

The militias dominated by the Shia Badr Organization and the Mahdi Army are leading imposition of strict Islamic rules. The enforcement of these rules comes at a time when British troops have left Basra, the biggest town in the south, to the Iraqi government.

The Shia-dominated Iraqi government is seen as providing tacit and sometimes direct support to militias. The Badr Organization answers to the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), the Shia bloc in the Iraqi government. The Mahdi army is the militia of anti-occupation Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Women who do not wear the hijab are becoming prime targets of militias, residents say. Many women say they are threatened with death if they do not obey.

"Militiamen approached us to tell us we must wear the hijab and stop wearing make-up," college student Zahra Alwan, who fled Basra for Baghdad, recently told IPS. "They are imitating the Iranian Revolution Guards, and we believe they receive orders from the Islamic Republic [of Iran] to do so."

Graffiti in red on walls across Basra warns women against wearing make-up and stepping out without covering their bodies from head to toe, Alwan said.

"The situation in Baghdad is not very different," Mazin Abdul Jabbar, a social researcher at Baghdad University, told IPS. "All universities are controlled by Islamic militiamen who harass female students all the time with religious restrictions."

Jabbar said this is one reason that "many families have stopped sending their daughters to high schools and colleges."

Earlier this year Iraq's Ministry of Education found that more than 70 percent of girls and young women no longer attend school or college.

Several female victims were accused of being "bad" before they were abducted, residents say. Most abducted women are later found dead. The bodies of several were found in garbage dumps, showing signs of rape and torture. Several bodies had a note attached saying the woman was "bad," according to several residents who did not give their name.

A Shia cleric in Baghdad spoke to IPS on the condition of anonymity to defend such killings.

"We are an Islamic country and we must commit to the restrictions of our religion," he said. "We must not allow corruption to invade our families under the flag of freedom and such nonsense."

Sunni clerics offered a different view.

"It is against Islamic regulations for women to expose their hair and bodies," Sheik Tariq al-Abdaly told IPS in Baghdad. "But this is not an Islamic state, and so all we can do is to advise women, same as we advise men, to follow those regulations. In any case, punishment for such mistakes should certainly be much less than execution."

Iraqi liberals are deeply frustrated by the lack of personal freedom. "We are so disappointed with the loss of what there was of Iraqi women's achievements under a regime [of former president Saddam Hussein] that we saw as retarded," Salim Mahmood of the Iraqi Communist Party in Baghdad told IPS.

"The Americans promised they would make Iraq a symbol of liberty and prosperity. Now it has neither."

(Inter Press Service)

comments on this article?
 
 
Archives

  • Police Bombings Raise New Fears
    8/1/2008

  • Most NGOs in Iraq Losing Face
    7/24/2008

  • Fallujah Braces for Another Assault
    7/22/2008

  • Unrest Surfaces in Fallujah Again
    7/17/2008

  • Iraq: The Love Stories Are Gone
    6/15/2008

  • 'Special Weapons' Have a Fallout on Babies in Fallujah
    6/13/2008

  • Corruption Eats Into Iraqis' Food Rations
    5/3/2008

  • Five Years On, Fallujah in Tatters
    4/15/2008

  • Iraq: From One Dictator to Another?
    4/14/2008

  • Iraqis: 'Surge' Is a Catastrophe
    2/23/2008

  • More Bombing Creates New Enemies
    2/9/2008

  • Iraqi Police and Army Sidelined by Sunni Fighters
    1/22/2008

  • Iraqis 'Awake' to a New Danger
    1/15/2008

  • Iraq Less Violent and Hellish Only in Numbers
    1/12/2008

  • Killer of US Soldiers Becomes Hero for Iraqis
    1/8/2008

  • US-Backed 'Awakening' Forces Arouse New Conflicts
    12/27/2007

  • Looking to Security from Paper Police
    12/20/2007

  • 'Bad' Women Raped and Killed in Southern Iraq
    12/19/2007

  • In Iraq, Not Even the Hajj is Free of Corruption
    12/14/2007

  • Iraqi Widows Become the Silent Tragedy
    12/8/2007

  • Refugees Caught Between Deportation and Death Threats
    12/7/2007

  • A Tenuous 'Peace' in Anbar
    11/30/2007

  • Detentions Escalate in Diwaniyah
    11/28/2007

  • Executions Not Leading to Iraqi Reconciliation
    11/23/2007

  • Shi'ite Infighting Increases Instability
    11/22/2007

  • Fallujah Now Under a Different Kind of Siege
    11/21/2007

  • Baghdad: A Tale of One City, Now Two
    11/13/2007

  • Fewer Deaths in Iraq Bring No Reassurance
    11/10/2007

  • When Blackwater Kills,
    No Questions Asked
    10/31/2007

  • Assassination of Sheikh Shakes US Claims
    10/20/2007

  • Back to School, Back to Horror
    9/15/2007

  • No Refuge Within or Outside the Country
    9/14/2007

  • Fighting Among Shi'ites Adds to Violence
    9/12/2007

  • Clerics Begin to Take Over Iraq
    9/11/2007

  • Samarra Under US Attack
    9/7/2007

  • With Donkeys for Transport, All Is Well
    9/6/2007

  • Families of Iraqi Detainees Losing Hope
    8/31/2007

  • Fallujah Finds a False Peace
    8/29/2007

  • Another US Military Operation, More Unrest
    8/23/2007

  • Between the Two Rivers, Lack of Water Kills
    8/18/2007

  • Iran Ties Weaken Iraqi Government Further
    8/14/2007

  • A Nail in Maliki Government's Coffin?
    8/4/2007

  • Iraq a Little Easier to Occupy From the Air
    8/1/2007

  • In Iraq, Soccer Succeeds Where Politics Fails
    7/28/2007

  • In Iraq, Partition Fears
    Begin to Rise
    7/17/2007

  • Operation Arrowhead Becomes Fountainhead of Anger
    7/11/2007

  • Curfew-Bound Fallujah
    On the Boil Again
    6/28/2007

  • Iraqis Skeptical After Second Shrine Attack
    6/21/2007

  • Iraqis Suffer Through Summer Without Electricity
    6/19/2007

  • US Losing Ground Through Tribal Allies
    6/16/2007

  • Iraqi Lawmaker Confirms Kurd-Shia Clashes in Baghdad
    6/10/2007

  • In Iraq, Broken Lives and Broken Hearts
    6/7/2007

  • Anger Builds in Fallujah Over Security Crackdown
    6/5/2007

  • Sick of Iraq's Government
    6/2/2007

  • Kurds and Shia Fight for Power in Baghdad
    5/30/2007

  • Curfew Begins to Choke Samarra
    5/23/2007

  • Iraqis Blame US Occupation for Bloody Week
    4/24/2007

  • Basra Splits Between Warring Shi'ites
    4/21/2007

  • Now the South Erupts
    4/12/2007

  • Iraqis Search for Political Leadership
    3/16/2007
  • Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail write for Inter Press Service.

    Reproduction of material from any original Antiwar.com pages
    without written permission is strictly prohibited.
    Copyright 2014 Antiwar.com