For most of us, personal style is something we take for granted, at least to the extent that the clothing we choose to wear, the makeup we choose to put on, and the hairstyles we choose to try have little bearing on whether or not we're allowed to walk down the street safely.
Recently in Baghdad, Iraq, a local Shia militant group has been targeting and stoning youth who wear western-style "emo" clothing and haircuts, including tight jeans, skull iconography, facial piercings, and spiked hairstyles. In the past three weeks alone, 14 have died in the hospital from injuries, and six others have been wounded. These Shia groups have target at least 24 individuals who are included in pamphlets claiming that those who embrace this style are "obscene males and females."
Area locals condemn the killings, but also express disapproval of the emo trend: "I saw them a couple weeks ago...a bunch of girls, high-school aged, walking together, dressed in black. They had long, black eye makeup and bracelets with skulls and chains on their handbags," said one interviewee. "If they are close friends who have something in common, that's all right. If other things we hear about them are true, like sucking each other's blood or worshipping the devil, that is not accepted in our society. But I think this is just a trend to imitate the west." (Reuters)