Why Militants Are Killing Emos

'Emo' and 'gay' are synonymous for most Iraqis
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2012 4:52 PM CDT
Why Militants Are Killing Emos
In this picture taken on Wednesday, March 7, 2012, Iraqis who identify themselves as so-called Emos smoke a traditional "shisha" water pipe in the Shiite holy city of Najaf.   (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani)

(Newser) – Why are young people in Iraq who identify as Emos being brutally murdered? Because militants, and Iraqis in general, think of them as gay, the AP reports. Up to 58 Iraqis considered homosexual have been killed over the past six weeks, sometimes by having their skulls crushed with heavy cement blocks. And in a religious country trying to stem the tide of Western influence since the 2003 US-led invasion, "Emo" and "gay" have become synonymous.

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Experts see a return to the anti-gay hate crimes that have left some 750 dead since 2006. In Sadr City alone, a list distributed by militants names 33 people who must be punished if they "do not stop this dirty act within four days." Says an LGBT advocate based in London: "There is a strong wave of campaigns by clerics against homosexuals now. The police do not provide protection for them." As if to prove the point, one officer assigned to stopping social abuse said his job involved protecting "the Emo or the vampires or Satan worshippers." (Read more Emos stories.)

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