Shia militants in Iraq have been targeting young men identified as Emo's, who they perceive to be gay, due to their Western style of appearance. At least 58 youths have allegedly been brutally stoned to death with concrete blocks in the last six weeks.
Iraqi youth identified as fans of the "Emo" trend are part of a subculture that is associated with being gay. Iraqi Morality Police have issued a statement vowing to eliminate the trend, saying "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." (Al-Akhbar)
"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."
NDTV reported that militants in Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City neighbourhood have issued this warning "We warn in the strongest terms to every male and female debauchee. If you do not stop this dirty act within four days, then the punishment of God will fall on you at the hands of Mujahideen."
Figures cited by NDTV point to 58 youths being killed in the last six weeks, while Al-Akhabar says the figure could be as high as 90 -100 deaths. They reported armed extremists "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." One of those who managed to escape described the murders, saying "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.”
On Friday an Iraqi cleric claimed the number of alleged "Emo" killings has been exaggerated by those with "a political agenda aimed at tarnishing the image of those who are religious," Alarabiya reported. Yet other Shiah clerics have condemned the murders. In some Iraq provinces the deaths of "Emo" teenagers have been labeled as suicides by police. However online photographs, including one displayed on Alarabiya, have been posted that show battered, bleeding youths.