Killings of Gay and “Emo” Youths in Iraq

From Radio Free Europe:

Since the start of this year, death squads have been targeting two separate groups — gay men, and those who dress in a distinctive, Western-influenced style called “emo,” which some Iraqis mistakenly associate with homosexuality.

At least 14 young men have been bludgeoned to death in the last three weeks in east Baghdad, an area dominated by Shi’ite Muslims, according to local security and medical sources who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Killings have been reported by other methods and in other cities as well. Since national authorities are not recording the incidents as a special category, the total is not known.

In recent days, members of Shi’ite militias, mainly in the Sadr City district, have circulated lists of names of people targeted for killings. The threats refer to “obscene males and females,” understood to refer to both gays and “emos,” an American teenage subculture of distinctive hairstyles and black clothes that has spread to Iraq….

Iraq’s Shi’ite-dominated government may not be helping. The Interior Ministry last month released a statement that labeled the emo culture “Satanism.” It said a special police force would stamp it out.

Thanks to Robert Dittmer for the pointer.