The new Iraq has opened space for many different groups. Some of those are positive, and others not so. Below is a picture of a banner posted in Baghdad on a blast wall. It warns people that they need to cover themselves properly to meet religious standards, and threatens anyone that tries to remove it.
Iraq, like the rest of the Middle East and North Africa, saw the rise of Islamism during the 1980s and 1990s. Saddam tried to co-opt this movement with his Faith Campaign in 1994 that appealed to both Sunnis and Shiites to mixed results. After his fall in 2003, a variety of Islamist groups emerged, some with a violent streak. Many now hold political power such as the Iraqi Islamic Party, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the Dawa Party, and the Sadr Trend. With these ideas so prevalent it’s no wonder that banners like these get posted in the middle of Baghdad, or that orders were issued for public workers to wear “suitable garments,” or that alcohol stores regularly get firebombed, or that teenagers who are seen as being too western like emo kids or homosexuals have been targeted.
|A flyer posted in Baghdad's Sadr City warning emo kids with their names and where they live (Healing Iraq)|
|Another similar list, this one issued by the League of the Righteous warning emos that they needed to stop or they would be punished by God. (Gay Middle East)|
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Littauer, Dan, “Iraqi government complicit with EMO and LGBT massacres,” Gay Middle East, 3/10/12
Ramzi, Kholoud, “not short, tight or shiny: new dress code could see women forced into veils,” Niqash, 1/26/12
Rasheed, Ahmed and Ameer, Mohammed, “Iraq militia stone youths to death for “emo” style,” Reuters, 3/10/12
Shawqi, Afrah, “Parents and children living in fear of emo killers,” AK News, 3/13/12