A chilling conspiracy has been going around Iraq after four well-known women were killed since August. It’s even more terrifying for Miss Iraq 2015 Shimaa Qasim who said in an Instagram Live video that she received a text saying, “You’re next.”
Last August, Dr. Rafeef al-Yaseri, also known as “The Barbie of Iraq,” was found dead. A week later, the body of beauty expert Rasha al-Hassan was discovered in her home. Both died due to “mysterious circumstances.” And two days before Tara’s death, human rights activist Suad al-Ali was gunned down in Basra.
The motive for the women’s murders still aren’t clear. But Iraqi conservatism could also play a part in this. Evening Standardreported that before Tara was killed, she reportedly received threats and insults on her posts because she “lacked modesty”—showing off tattoos, wearing makeup, and sporting close-fitting clothes. As the Arab News‘ headline described, she was basically “murdered for daring to be female in Baghdad.”
Iraq’s acting prime minister Haider al-Abadi pledged to investigate and hunt down the killers. Activists like Rusul Kamil, who also specializes on gender-based violence, said that these incidents are “a threat for all Iraqi women and girls who want to live their lives freely, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, and roles.”
The pattern of the victims clearly shows that this is a hate crime against Iraqi women who are bravely standing up against misogynistic norms in their country. We hope the government provides protection to these women and also find the perpetrators responsible for these murders.