>> Dirty bastards.
>> ╠☼╣Ǚ∑Â§â€Ð_ID_SBR_X|||DI©*J*Ω∏lol؟♫1ﷲ☻∞= 8☺╣☼╠? wrote:
>>> Iraq's moslem militias target women - Abduction, rape and murder
>>> Hidden victims of a brutal conflict: Iraq's women
>>> Abduction, rape and murder are the punishments for any woman who
>>> dares to hold a professional job.
>>> They came for Dr Khaula al-Tallal in a white Opel car after she took
>>> a taxi home to the middle class district of Qadissiya in Iraq's holy
>>> city of Najaf. She worked for the medical committee that examined
>>> patients to assess them for welfare benefit. Crucially, however, she
>>> was a woman in a country where being a female professional
>>> increasingly invites a death sentence.
>>> As al-Tallal, 50, walked towards her house, one of three moslem men
>>> in the Opel stepped out and raked her with bullets.
>>> A women's rights campaigner, Umm Salam - a nickname - knows about the
>>> three men in the Opel: they tried to kill her on 11 December last
>>> year. It was a Sunday, she recalls, and 15 bullets were fired into
>>> her own car as she drove home from teaching at an internet cafe. A
>>> man in civilian clothes got out of the car and opened fire. Three
>>> bullets hit her, one lodging close to her spinal cord. Her
>>> 20-year-old son was hit in the chest. Umm Salam saw the gun - a
>>> police-issue Glock. She is convinced her would-be assassin works for
>>> the state.
>>> The shootings of al-Tallal and Umm Salam are not isolated incidents,
>>> even in Najaf - a city almost exclusively Shia and largely insulated
>>> from the sectarian violence of the North. Bodies of young women have
>>> appeared in its dusty lanes and avenues, places patrolled by packs of
>>> dogs where the boundaries bleed into the desert. It is a favourite
>>> place for dumping murder victims.
>>> Iraqis do not like to talk about it much, but there is an
>>> understanding of what is going on these days. If a young woman is
>>> abducted and murdered without a ransom demand, she has been kidnapped
>>> to be raped. Even those raped and released are not necessarily safe:
>>> the response of some families to finding that a woman has been raped
>>> has been to kill her.
>>> Iraq's women are living with a fear that is increasing in line with
>>> the numbers dying violently every month. They die for being a member
>>> of the wrong sect and for helping their fellow women. They die for
>>> doing jobs that the militants have decreed that they cannot do: for
>>> working in hospitals and ministries and universities. They are
>>> murdered, too, because they are the softest targets for Iraq's
>>> criminal gangs.
>>> Iraq's women live in terror of speaking their opinions; of going out
>>> to work; or defying the strict new prohibitions on dress and
>>> behaviour applied across Iraq by Islamist militants, both Sunni and
>>> Shia. They live in fear of their husbands, too, as women's rights
>>> have been undermined by the country's postwar constitution that has
>>> taken power from the family courts and given it to clerics.
>>> 'Women are being targeted more and more,' said Umm Salam last week.
>>> Her husband was a university professor who was executed in 1991 under
>>> Saddam Hussein after the Shia uprising. She survived by running her
>>> family farm. When the Americans arrived she got involved in civic
>>> action, teaching illiterate women how to read and vote, independent
>>> from the influence of their husbands. She helped them fill in forms
>>> for benefits and set up a sewing workshop.
>>> In doing so she put herself at mortal risk. And since the
>>> assassination attempt, like many women in Najaf, she has found it
>>> hard to work. Which is what the men in the white Opel wanted. To
>>> silence the women like Umm Salam, who is 42.
>>> 'It is very difficult for women here. There is a lot of pressure on
>>> our personal freedoms. None of us feels that we can have an opinion
>>> on anything any more. If she does, she risks being killed.'
>>> It is a story familiar to women across Iraq, betrayed by the
>>> country's new constitution that guaranteed them a 25 per cent share
>>> of membership of the Council of Representatives. That guarantee has
>>> turned instead into a fig leaf hiding what women activists now call a
>>> 'human rights catastrophe for Iraqi women'.
>>> After a month-long investigation, The Observer has established that
>>> in almost every major area of human rights, women are being seriously
>>> discriminated against, in some cases seeing their conditions return
>>> to those of females in the Middle Ages. In areas such as the Shia
>>> militia stronghold of Sadr City in east Baghdad, women have been
>>> beaten for not wearing socks. Even the headscarf and juba - the
>>> ankle-length, flared coat that buttons to the collar - are not enough
>>> for the zealots. Some women have been threatened with death unless
>>> they wear the full abbaya, the black, all-encompassing veil.
>>> Similar reports are emerging from Mosul, where it is Sunni extremists
>>> who are laying down the law, and Kirkuk. Women from Karbala, Hilla,
>>> Basra and Nassariyah have all told The Observer similar stories. Of
>>> the insidious spread of militia and religious party control - and how
>>> members of those same groups are, paradoxically, increasingly
>>> responsible for the rape and murder of women outside their sects and
>>> 'There is a member of my organisation, an activist who is a
>>> Christian,' said Yanar Mohammed, head of the Organisation for Iraqi
>>> Women's Freedom, who has had death threats for her work in protecting
>>> women threatened by domestic violence or 'honour' killings. 'She
>>> would have to walk home each day to her neighbourhood through an area
>>> controlled by one of the Islamic Shia militias, the Jaish al-Mahdi.
>>> She does not wear a veil so she gets abused by these men. About three
>>> weeks ago, one of them starts following her home saying that he wants
>>> a sexual relationship with her. He tells her what he wants to do, and
>>> if she doesn't agree he says she will be kidnapped. In the end he
>>> thinks that, because he is armed, because he threatens her existence,
>>> she will have to agree to a "pleasure marriage" [a temporary sexual
>>> union arranged by a cleric].'
>>> Strong anecdotal evidence gathered by organisations such as that of
>>> Yanar Mohammed and by the Iraqi Women's Network, run by Hanna Edwar,
>>> suggests rape is also being used as a weapon in the sectarian war to
>>> humiliate families from rival communities. 'So far what we have been
>>> seeing is what you might call "collateral rape",' says Besmia Khatib
>>> of the Iraqi Women's Network. 'Rape is being used in the settling of
>>> scores in the sectarian war.' Yanar Mohammed describes how a Shia
>>> girl was kidnapped, raped and dumped in the Husseiniya area of
>>> Baghdad. The retaliation, she says, was the kidnapping and rape of
>>> several Sunni girls in the Rashadiya area. Tit for tat.
>>> Similar stories are emerging across Iraq. 'Of course rape is going
>>> on,' says Aida Ussayaran, former deputy Human Rights Minister and now
>>> one of the women on the Council of Representatives. 'We blame the
>>> militias. But when we talk about the militias, many are members of
>>> the police. Any family now that has a good-looking young woman in it
>>> does not want to send her out to school or university, and does not
>>> send her out without a veil. This is the worst time ever in Iraqi
>>> women's lives. In the name of religion and sectarian conflict they
>>> are being kidnapped and killed and raped. And no one is mentioning it.'
>>> Women activists are convinced there is substantial under-reporting of
>>> crimes against women in some areas, particularly involving 'honour
>>> killing' - there is a massive increase against a background of
>>> pervasive violence - and that families often seek death certificates
>>> that will hide the cause. In regions such as the violent Anbar
>>> province, the country's largest, which borders Jordan and Syria,
>>> there is little reporting of the causes of any death. And activists
>>> complain, in any case, that they have been blocked from examining
>>> bodies at the Medical Forensic Institute in Baghdad, or collecting
>>> their own figures to build up an accurate picture of what is
>>> happening to women.
>>> While attacks on women have long been the dirty secret of Iraq's war,
>>> the sheer levels of the violence is now pushing it into the open.
>>> Last week in Samawah, 246 kilometres (153 miles) south of Baghdad,
>>> three women and a toddler were killed when gunmen stormed their home
>>> in an unexplained mass murder. Like Dr al-Tallal in Najaf, they were
>>> Shia Muslims in a Shia city. The three women were shot. The
>>> 18-month-old baby had her throat slit.
>>> In the north, too, last week the killing of women became more
>>> visible, with the al-Jazeera network reporting that attacks on women
>>> in the city of Mosul had led to an unprecedented rise in the number
>>> of women's bodies being found. Among them was Zuheira, a young
>>> housewife, found shot dead in the suburb of Gogaly. Salim Zaho, a
>>> neighbour, quoted by the television station, said: 'They couldn't
>>> kill her husband, a police officer, so they came for his wife instead.'
>>> It is one of the recurring narratives of murder told by Iraqi women.
>>> It is a violence that would not be possible without a wider,
>>> permissive brutalising of women's lives: one that permeates the 'new
>>> Iraq' in its entirety. For it is not only the religious militias that
>>> have turned women's lives into a living hell - it is, in some
>>> measure, the government itself, which has allowed ministries run by
>>> religious parties to segregate staff by gender. Some public offices,
>>> including ministries, insist on women staff wearing a headscarf at
>>> all times. A women's shelter, set up by Yanar Mohammed's group, was
>>> closed down by the government.
>>> Most serious of all are the death threats women receive for simply
>>> working, even in government offices. Zainub - not her real name -
>>> works for a ministry in Baghdad. One morning, she said, she arrived
>>> at work to find that a letter had been sent to all the women. 'When I
>>> opened up the note it said, "You will die. You will die".'
>>> The situation has been exacerbated by the undermining of Iraq's old
>>> Family Code, established in 1958, which guaranteed women a large
>>> measure of equality in key areas such as divorce and inheritance. The
>>> new constitution has allowed the Family Code to be superseded by the
>>> power of the clerics and new religious courts, with the result that
>>> it is largely discriminatory against women. The clerics have
>>> permitted the creeping re-emergence of men contracting multiple
>>> marriages, formerly discouraged by the old code. It is these clerics,
>>> too, who have permitted a sharp escalation in the 'pleasure
>>> marriages'. And it is the same clerics overseeing the rapid
>>> transformation of a once secular society - in which women held high
>>> office and worked as professors, doctors, engineers and economists -
>>> into one where women have been forced back under the veil and into
>>> the home. The result is mapped out every day on Iraq's streets and in
>>> its country lanes in individual acts of intimidation and physical
>>> brutality that build into an awful whole.
>>> And so in Salman Pak, on the Tigris 15 miles south of Baghdad, The
>>> Observer is told, the Karaa Brigade of the Ministry of the Interior
>>> rounds up some Sunni men. Later some of the police return to the
>>> men's houses and promise their worried women to help find the missing
>>> men in exchange for sex.
>>> In the Shia neighbourhood of al-Shaab in Baghdad, militiamen with the
>>> Jaish al-Mahdi put out an order banning women from wearing sandals
>>> and certain shoes, skirts and trousers. They beat up others for
>>> wearing the wrong clothes.
>>> In Amaryah, a Sunni stronghold in Baghdad, Sunni militants shave
>>> three women's heads for wearing the wrong clothes and lash young men
>>> for wearing shorts. In Zafaraniyah, a largely Shia suburb south of
>>> Baghdad, the Jaish al-Mahdi militiamen wait outside a school and slap
>>> girls not wearing the hijab.
>>> It is a situation bleakly recorded by the Human Rights Office of the
>>> UN Assistance Mission to Iraq. 'There are reports that, in some
>>> Baghdad neighbourhoods, women are now prevented from going to the
>>> markets alone,' Unami reported. 'In other cases, women have been
>>> warned not to drive cars, or have faced harassment if they wear
>>> trousers. Women have also reported that wearing a headscarf is
>>> becoming not a matter of religious choice but one of survival in many
>>> parts of Iraq, a fact particularly resented by non-Muslim women.
>>> Female university students are also facing constant pressure in
>>> university campuses.'
>>> 'Since the beginning of August it has just been getting worse,' says
>>> Nagham Kathim Hamoody, an activist with the Iraqi Women's Network in
>>> Najaf . 'There are more women being killed and more bodies being
>>> found in the cemetery. I don't know why they are being killed, but I
>>> know the militias are behind the killing... We went to the mortuary
>>> here in Najaf, but the authorities would not co-operate in helping to
>>> identify the murdered women. There was one doctor, though, who told
>>> us that some of the bodies showed signs that they had been beaten
>>> prior to their murder.'
>>> And so the painful lives of Iraqi women go on.
>>> moslem cartoon character muhammad was a child molester and goat fucker