Iraqi teenagers stoned to death for "emo" haircuts

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (

Al-Akhbar Management

Published Friday, March 9, 2012

At least 90 Iraqi teenagers with "emo" appearances have been stoned to death by religious extremists in Baghdad in the past month after an inflammatory interior ministry statement dubbed it "devil worshiping", activists said.

Iraq's Moral Police released a chilling statement on the interior ministry's website condemning the "emo phenomenon" among Iraqi youth, disturbingly declaring its intent to "eliminate" the trend.

"The 'Emo phenomenon' or devil worshiping 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 statement read.

"They wear strange, tight clothes that have pictures on them such as skulls and use stationary that are shaped as skulls. They also wear rings on their noses and tongues, and do other strange activities," it continued.

Religious extremists caught onto the interior ministry statement, and have been harassing and killing teenagers with "strange" or "emo" appearances.

A group of armed men dressed in civilian clothing led dozens of teenagers to secluded areas a few days ago, stoned them to death, and then disposed their bodies in garbage dumpsters across the capital, according to activists.

The armed men are said to belong to “one of the most extremist religious groups” in Iraq.

“First they throw concrete blocks at the boy's arms, then at his legs, then the final blow is to his head, and if he is not dead then, they start all over again,” one person who managed to escape told Al-Akhbar.

Iraq's moral police was granted approval by the Ministry of Education to enter Baghdad schools and pinpoint students with such appearances, according to the interior ministry's statement.

The exact death toll remains unclear, but Hana al-Bayaty of Brussels Tribunal, an NGO dealing with Iraqi issues, said the current figure ranges "between 90 and 100."

"What's most disturbing about this is that they're so young," she said.

Al-Bayaty said the killings appear to have been carried out by extremist Shia militias in mostly poor Shia neighborhoods and said she suspected "there's complicity of the Ministry of Interior in the killings."

Photos of the victims were released on Facebook, causing panic and fear among Iraqi students.

A young man with long hair expressed alarm at the government-ordained harassment of teenagers with Western appearances.

“I have long hair but that doesn't mean I'm an Emo. I'm not less of a man if I have long hair. Let's not say that if I have long hair, I'm a homosexual, but I have long hair because this is my style, this is me," he told Iraq's Al-Sharqiya television network.

Below is the full Al-Sharqiya report in Arabic:

Safiyyah al-Suhail, an MP, said on Thursday that "some students have been recently arrested because they were wearing American jeans or had Western haircuts."

The interior ministry has not disclosed the number of teenage victims, but released a follow-up statement on Thursday warning extremists "not to step on public freedom of Iraqis."

News of the gruesome deaths drew a stern reaction from Iraq's prominent Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who criticized the stoning of the young men as "an act of terrorism."

Below is the full English translation of the Iraqi interior ministry's inflammatory statement (original Arabic here):

The Director of the Moral Police of the Interior Ministry released a statement, saying "The 'Emo phenomenon' or devil worshiping 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."

'Emo' comes from the English word 'emotional' and the phenomenon is popular among teenagers not only in Iraq, but in most societies. They use their appearances and movements as a method to express their emotions and embody their will and their view of life in their behavior.

Colonel Mushtaq Taleb al-Mahemdawi said: "The Emo Phenomenon was discovered a while back by members of our force in Baghdad. A report has been made and given to the Ministry of Interior to receive an approval to carry on with the investigation and to know how to eliminate the phenomenon."

He added: "The Ministry of Interior took this situation very seriously and received an approval from the Ministry of Education to set a plan under my full supervision and to allow us to enter schools in the capital."

"There are some cases of the spread of this phenomenon specifically among schools in Baghdad, but we are facing great difficulty in the lack of women on the force who would allow us to carry the investigation more accurately since the phenomenon is more popular among girls between the ages of 14 and 18."

"They wear strange, tight clothes that have pictures on them such as skulls and use stationary that are shaped as skulls. They also wear rings on their noses and tongues, and do other strange activities."



This is not religion in the "modern world". It is religion in the 7th century. Best thing we could do is build a big fence around the lot of them and let them kill each other and die in their own squalor. They wouldn't even notice the difference.

Oh really. When did this recently happen in the southern US? You are an idiot.

Or maybe you and all your "elite" friends could deport yourselves to Europe to live out your socialist fantasies overseas, leaving the rest of us to clean up the mess you are making of the USA, so we can spend the rest of our lives enjoying our liberty, sovereignty and a booming free market.

If you are tired of the government creating problems by not doing their job (look to the Constitution if you aren't sure what that is) and then coming up with "solutions" that make things even worse, then you are welcome to stay here in the USA! The rest of you can beat it!

This has as much to do with religion as General Relativity has to do with Quantum Field Theory. Ignorance, fear and bigotry is not mutually exclusive with any philosophical or religious viewpoint. There at always those who value what they perceive as power over truth. Athesism has nothing to recommend it over any major religion.

It is interesting you mentioned a 90 IQ criteria. Are you a 91? Send you as well, I don't think we would notice your absence.

I live in the south and there is a rather large community of gay persons here. I have no animosity towards anybodies sexual preference. My wife is from Europe. So I believe the moron here is you. It is your blind hate of religion that makes you stupid. I can only wish that Liberal retards such as your self would swallow a 12 gauge and pull the trigger. Dumb A$$ Libtard.

Except that the gays in the Southern US are still alive, and the emos in Iraq are not. Alive, dead. "To be fair" not a far cry at all? And, this is logic belonging to 90-plus point IQs?

Better idea send all u American bashing left wingers over to the middle east and see how long u survive.

Better idea send all u American bashing left wingers over to the middle east and see how long u survive.

that's stupid

You're an idiot. Both for lumping all religions together and for attempting to postulate some sort of equivalency where clearly none exists.

Yes of course, because clearly some religions are superior to others right? Anything else you want to rant on about you fanatical bigot?


can we send justin bieber there?

Yeah i agree, stellar job.

Is it moral to kill people different than yourself?

Obviously in Iran, it is, they are (after all) the MORAL police.

These injustices were committed on a background of religion and theocracy. Now think about the bullshit that has been spilling out of our candidates faces about imposing their religious beliefs on us if they are elected to office. We will become no better than Iraq.

Please provider an example of a candidate imposing thier religious belief on the public. Better yet, please provide an example of a candidate who is in favor of imposing their religious beliefs by orchistrating stonings of those with different beliefs or lifestyles.

That's a stretch! Comparing the two

I'll bite; name a SINGLE statment from one of the candidates that explicitly supports your stupid comment.

Please provide one example of a current candidate promoting violence? You do know Obama is killing (actually killing) people with drones?

I get the feeling that you would love to do the same thing to a group of Christian youth given the opportunity. Ironically, they are only asking that we follow our Constitution and stop trampling their right to practice their religion freely (without government interference). You see some of us are mature enough to handle the freedom and liberty bestowed by our creator and don't need the government to micromanage every detail of our lives. Some of us are also big enough to let others explore their own path (pitfalls included) without getting our panties in a wad. While I am not a Christian, I do think that our world is made better by the good work that they do. When I went to help feed the displaced after hurricane Katrina I was the only atheist working my shift, all the other volunteers were either Christian or Jewish. If their religion causes them to do good work, they are OK by me. What causes you to do good?

Oh please. The candidates you're referring to want the government to stay OUT of peoples lives. ...unlike the current administration that wants to control EVERYTHING imaginable. From the food that you eat to the products that you buy.

The US has never had a more totalitarian administration than the one it's got right now. ...but I'm sure that's okay with you since you share their politics and their anti-religious bigotry.

I want religion to stay the hell out of civil society. You are free to go to your churches. Leave me and my kids alone!!!!

No candidate in America is trying to impose any religion on anyone. What have you been smoking?

Next time, it will be hipsters...

How bout hippies and middle earthers?

You are all commenting further hate against a different group you feel different from and apparently better then.
Do us all a favor, next time you have a thought, just let it go.

We can only hope.

Here's hoping.

The hipsters got stoned to death before it was world news.

You got me to look for an upvote button, nice one.

Here comes the diversity

Mission accomplish! Freedom, justice and Liberty....spread. How many American soldiers died for this shining example of prosperity?

We tried. If the government stoned your son or daughter wouldn't you pray for someone to come and at least try to help you and others?

Why do you have to rely on others all the time,
where is the indignation of these children's (and they are children) parents.
If your children were being murdered for their clothes because they are finding out who they are and what they like,
Wouldn't you be angry or try to do something to stop this in your own country, why is it put to a country thousands of miles away
To wave a magic wand and change it.

None yet, since we haven't fought in Iran...

So, we went into Iraq to find an eliminate WMDs that were not there, and to stop the violence against the people of the country. Good job we did there.

We did not find them because Saddam had years to move them to Syria. I bet if and when their government falls, we'll find them.

Bravo, Bob, that's good, clear thinking. Seriously. Let's go back BEFORE the Bush Administration and see what the Clinton Administration was saying about Saddam Hussein... Ahhhh, both Bill and Hillary Clinton were preaching that Saddam Hussein's stockpiles of WMD were the GREATEST THREAT to peace in the Middle East and were a threat to the entire WORLD. The Clintons preached against Saddam Hussein and his WMD throughout the ENTIRE Clinton Administration, right up until they left the White House in 2000.

After they left the White House, Hillary was elected to the Senate, where she CONTINUED preaching against Saddam Hussein and his WMD, even BEFORE George W. Bush made his "Axis of Evil" address.

See, Liberals have very SELECTIVE memories. They don't remember that Bill Clinton illegally fired missiles on Iraq during peacetime in the 1990s. What was Bill Clinton's TARGET in Iraq, you ask? Well, according to Bill Clinton, we were targeting chemical plants that were manufacturing WMD.

All of these smug, arrogant and ignorant Liberals need to go back to school, because their STUPIDITY is more dangerous to the USA than ANY stockpile of WMD, I promise you.


Compare the before ansd after. Saddam killed a LOT more than 90 people, and for reasons even more trivial than looking emo. Is Iraq a perfect place? No, but if you find one point it out. Is it better than before? Yes.

Stop being narrow. This isn't about 90 kids. It's about the fact our invasion caused more deaths of Iraqis in the first few years than all of Saddam in his 30 years. Besides it was only a matter of time till the Arab Spring caught up to him.

Dan, don't be a fool. There is NO WAY that Coalition forces killed more Iraqis in 7 years than Saddam Hussein killed in 40 years. Saddam was a maniac. Saddam was a MURDERER even BEFORE he rose to power in Iraq. Saddam was already bringing in Russian-made bio-weapons back in the 1970s, and he was already murdering Iraqis AND Iranians with nerve agents throughout the 1980s.

You wanna know where the highest rate of infant birth defects are found IN THE WORLD? It's in Iraq and Iran, in the regions where Saddam Hussein deployed mustard gas and other toxins. There's a REASON that Iraqis wanted to hang Saddam Hussein. Dan, you need to go back to school and STOP swallowing the Leftist propaganda, buddy.

Dam*n. A three-way religious war, Sunnis, Shiites, & Christians. And we are fighting unarmed.

Damn, you're stupid.

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