Iraq: Students beaten to death for playing music

24 March 2005
In Basra, Shia Islamic militias apply their own version of
Islamic law, writes reporter for The Times of London, Catherine Philp

In the southern Iraqi city of Basra, dozens of men from a private militia poured into a local park where a group of students were having a picnic. The men were armed with guns, and shouted at the students that they were “immoral”, because they were meeting boys and girls together, and playing music.

The students were shot, beaten with rifle butts, and manhandled. Two students are said to have been killed in the incident. Another girl who was severely beaten around the head lost her sight. Far from disavowing the attack, senior al-Sadr loyalists said that they had a duty to stop the students’ “dancing, sexy dress and corruption”.

Read the full story in The Times Online: Death at ‘immoral’ picnic in the park

Comment on Global Echo:
 If You Believe in Freedom, Step Aside

Background story on
 Traditional Iraqi music under threat

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