Shiite extremists are reportedly attacking and killing “emo” teens in poor Iraq neighborhoods, where some say as many as 90 young people have been stoned to death.
The Daily Mail said students with long hair and piercings who wear tight-fitting clothes are targeted.
Brussells Tribunal representative Hana al-Bayaty said “between 90 and 100” teens have died.
“What's most disturbing about this is that they're so young,” she told The Daily Mail.
The Brussells Tribunal is a non-governmental organization that reports on Iraq.
Reuters is reporting 14 deaths around Baghdad.
Quoting a doctor in Iraq, the bodies of young people have arrived at hospitals and morgues in the last month.
“Last week, I signed the death certificates of three of those young people, and the reason for death I wrote in my own hand was severe skull fractures,” one doctor in al-Kindi said. “A very powerful blow to the head caused these fractures which totally smashed the skull of the victim.”
Emo is popular among some western teens. It's similar to punk rock or Goth styles and is most identified with certain bands.
Teens wear dark clothing with piercings and distinctive haircuts, and some say the style is androgynous.
The Iraqi Moral Police said emo is “devil worship” on its website, and called for its elimination.
“The emo phenomenon or devil worshipping is being followed by the Moral Police who have the approval to eliminate (the phenomenon) as soon as possible since it's detrimentally affecting the society and becoming a danger,” the website says, according to The Daily Mail.
“They wear strange, tight clothes that have pictures on them such as skulls and use (school supplies) that are shaped as skulls. They also wear rings on their noses and tongues, and do other strange activities.”
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Reaction in Iraq is mixed, with some religious leaders calling on stoning deaths to stop.
The Interior Ministry claimed the stories are false.
“Many media have reported fabricated news reports about the so-called ‘emo’ phenomenon — stories about tens of young people killed in various ways, including stoning,” a ministry statement said, Reuters reported. “No murder case has been recorded with the interior ministry on so-called ‘emo’ grounds. All cases of murder recorded were for revenge, social and common criminal reasons.”
Photos have appeared on Facebook purportedly showing stoning victims, and pamphlets have circulated in Iraq with names of young people who are being monitored.
“We strongly warn you, to all the obscene males and females, if you will not leave this filthy work within four days the punishment of God will descend upon you at the hand of the Mujahideen,” the leaflet reads.
Abdul-Raheem al-Rikabi, a spokesman for one of Baghdad’s most influential Shi’ite clerics, characterized the stoning deaths as “terrorist attacks.”
“Such a phenomenon, which has spread among young people, should be tackled through dialog and peaceful means and not through physical liquidation,” Rikabi told Reuters.
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