Iraq: Operations targeting ‘Emo’ teenagers hit heavy metal fans



Operations targeting ‘Emo’ teenagers 
hit fans of heavy metal as well

Brutal persecution and killing of ‘Emo’ teenagers has put musicians and fans of heavy metal music under critical danger in Iraq.

‘Emos’ are fools and experts must finish them, said the conservative cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in the Iraq-based Al Sumaria News TV.

“The ‘Emo phenomenon’ or devil worshiping is being probed by the moral police who have the approval to eliminate it as soon as possible since it’s detrimentally affecting the society and becoming a danger,” Al Akhbar cited the Iraqi Interior Ministry as saying on 9 March 2012.

Iraqi police sources and witnesses said that there were ‘mysterious’ operations targeting ‘Emo’ teenagers. At least two lists of intended victims have been posted online. The teenagers were assaulted with concrete blocks to batter their heads, coinciding with reports coming from activists who have posted pictures online web of dead teenagers with their heads bashed in.

There is a widespread perception in Iraq that emo is a byword not just for devil-worship, but homosexuality. A leaflet distributed in east Baghdad gave any local emo fans four days to “leave this filthy work”, under pain of “the punishment of God … at the hand of the Mujahideen”, and tattoo parlours in the city have reported terrified young people asking for their punk-esque body-art to be removed.

‘Mysterious’ suicides
Sumaria News reported police sources as saying that in the first week of March around five ‘Emos’ were killed in Baghdad. In other Iraqi provinces police talked of ‘mysterious’ suicides taking place, all of which involved ‘emo’ teenagers. An official from Babil’s province police department told Sumaria News that “seven suicide attempts took place in the province, from November 2011 and January 2012, two for girls and five for boys.” Investigation showed that the seven were ‘emos’ who listened to rock music.



What is ’emo’?

Emo is a broad title that covers a lot of different styles of emotionally-charged punk rock, characterized by melodic musicianship and expressive, often confessional lyrics. Emo is often used more generally to describe related aspects of fashion, culture, and behavior.


JorZine, Arabian Metal Webzine – 11 March 2012:

‘Iraqi Metal And Rock Scene Under Critical Danger’

Related reading

The Guardian – 17 March 2012:

‘Punk rock . alive and kicking in a repressive state near you’

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