Emo kids get shot in Iraq

Published: March 18, 2012

I always said, ‘this is our home and we can’t just walk away’. After I read about what was happening to emo kids in Iraq, I sent one of them a message and said, ‘dude, you’re better off far away from this place’.

So I was going through the news a couple of days ago, and came across a rather odd piece of news – ‘Iraq emo killings raise alarm’.

The first thought in my head was “whoa, did they run out of bombs?”. And the second was:

- I have short hair

- I wear black

- I have a pierced lip.

If I was in Iraq would they put my name on a hit list just because of the way I was dress?

According to a news piece published in Huffington Post on March 11, 2012, these so-called ‘emo kids’ are being killed because as a sub-culture ‘being emo’ in Iraq was thought of as homosexual. Now, we all know that is not true, because if it was then every angsty teenager who ever wore skinny jeans, black clothes, and kohl would be gay, right?

It sent chills down my spine when I read,

‘Militants had distributed lists in Baghdad’s Shiite Sadr City neighborhood with names and addresses of 33 people. On top of the list was a drawing of two handguns flanking a Quranic greeting that extols God as compassionate and merciful.’

I think it’s time someone stands up to these eccentrics and explain to them that ‘emo’ is short for emotional.

Although this story doesn’t affect us directly, how do you think you would react if 58 Pakistanis who were gay or thought of as gay were killed within a span of six weeks?

Yes, I know I can’t compare Iraq with Pakistan but with the increasing religious fervor and Talibanization penetrating all corners of society it isn’t hard to imagine what we may look like a few years down the line. You should think about that the next time you reach out for that black nail polish on your dressing table.

In the last couple of years, alternative sub-cultures have become all the rage in Pakistan. You will find angry teenagers going for the punk or goth look while the cool ones will go for the ghetto or gangsta look. No one wants to be shut behind doors anymore. They want to be free to express themselves the way they want.

When I think of all unidentified bodies that are found in Karachi, on a daily basis, or the bomb that explodes in Peshawar every alternate day, all I can think is,-isn’t it enough that people die on the basis of religion or political affiliation? Must we also kill people because of the way they dress or the music they listen to?

I have always fought with my gay friends when they said that they couldn’t live a safe fulfilled life in Pakistan. I would always end up saying something like, ‘don’t be stupid’ or ‘this is our home and we can’t just walk away’. However, after I read about what was happening to emo kids in Iraq, I sent one of them a message and saying “Dude, you’re better off far away from this place”.


Tooba Masood

Tooba Masood

A senior sub-editor on the Peshawar Desk at The Express Tribune. She tweets @tabahitooba (twitter.com/tabahitooba)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • muhammad nadeem

    The people in Iraq were killed in brutal manner.They had their heads smashed in between cement blocks,only because they were gay.The different newsreports coming out of iraq made it clear that these people were savagely murdered because the religious clerics thougt that they were gay.This religious legitimacy given to killing people on the basis of their sexuality is deeply disturbing.
    That Homophobia would be taken to such a brutal extreme in the 21st century is deeply shocking.Recommend

  • arshad khan

    Discrimination and bigotry against the LGBT community has reached its height in Iraq.This is inhuman and barbaric behaviour that has been directed towards the LGBT people in iraq.Killing them in a sadistic fashion only because of who they are is something that only cavemen would do.torturing people because of their sexual orientation is an indicator of an insecure and fearful mind,fearful of anything that’s different,fearful of anything it doesn’t understand.Recommend

  • Ali raza

    Why do we muslims have to take everything to the extreme? even in our homophobia,we can’t limit ourselves to debates or discussions,no, we invent new and unbelievably cruel ways to inflict pain on others because of the way they were born.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    Its Haram in islam final.Recommend

  • http://pakistancyberforce.blogspot.com/ Green Fog

    Islam does not permit these kind of activity (long hari, gay, lesbian, emo etc). We all should follow the true form of the greatest religion on earth. No secularism.Recommend

  • http://syedaabidabokhari.wordpress.com The Only Normal Person Here.

    Good write up. I appreciate you for the issue you picked to write on.Recommend

  • http://www.insaf.pk Antebellum

    They should be shot here too. With darts and paint-balls :pRecommend

  • Hira

    I am torn between supporting emo people or the Iraqis who wish to eliminate them. How about voting for someone normal? Too bad that’s not an option.Recommend

  • http://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com Shumaila

    Good write-up, I was horrified to read the news when it first appeared. So now the mere way you dress or look dictates whether you live or die, in certain parts of the world? This is the epitome of squashing diversity. It’s depressing as well as frightening.Recommend

  • http://www.indrajal.com Vishnu Dutta

    @Green Fog:
    Sure. So if French stone hijabi women to death in paris just because she is a muslim and wearing hijab, would that be fine with you as well.
    cant have double standards you know.Recommend

  • WhoWasThatMaskedMan

    …and in a certain Pakistani university, if they don’t smash your head between two cement blocks, they will insult you in a manner that your head explodes. Been there.
    On another note …if you belong to a resourceful family, you can get away with any thing.Recommend

  • momo

    They should be hanged in a muslim state to exhibit a punishment for other gays.Recommend

  • a 54321

    lol guys stop passing judgements. we dont know the whole story. all we know is that they were killed bc ppl thought they were gay, because they dressed a certain way. there must be more to it.Recommend

  • Awais

    @Ali Tanoli:
    What is, being part of a sub-culture? I’m curious, if someone sitting next to you was openly gay but is an athiest, would you not bother because that person doesn’t have to follow the same rules as you or would you shove Islam down his throat and throw verses from the Qur’an at him?Recommend

  • Awais

    @Hira:
    Sorry Hira, don’t get you, what do you mean by normal? Like not being part of a sub-culture? Not taking religion to the extreme?Recommend

  • Awais

    @Green Fog:
    I choose reasoning and rationality. How about keeping the greatest religion on Earth to yourselves eh?Recommend

  • Awais

    @momo:
    Muslims should be executed in an athiest state to exhibit a punishment for other Muslims………Nah only joking. But you do see what i’m getting at with that comment…Don’t you?Recommend

  • sidjeen

    more disturbed with how many people support such crazy things in the comments section.Recommend

  • http://www.benawa.net Afghan Karachite

    Kids shot in Iraq?

    I don’t think boys and girls as young as 17 are considered kids anywhere. Nice attempt to emotionally hijack the readers.
    Btw, I just wonder why liberal Muslims so obsessively support all the that stuffs which Islam prohibits. You can bash the one’s who killed these mentally sick people but should never support what they do, I mean their Emo beliefs and life style. Recommend

  • Parvez

    …..and the people doing the killing will loudly proclaim that Islam teaches tolerance and compassion and that taking a life is equal to killing all humanity etc. etc..
    It is also said that ‘munafiqat’ (hypocrisy) is like a sin and it is hard to find bigger hypocrites anywhere.Recommend

  • http://www.benawa.net Afghan Karachite

    @Vishnu Dutta:

    So if French stone hijabi women to death in paris just because
    she is a muslim and wearing hijab, would that be fine with you as well.

    What an absurd comment!
    Has hijjab been considered something that sinful in Christianity that incites Christians’ sensations to this extent? There’s a world of difference between wearing a Hijjab and being a gay. Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/britpak Mohammed Abbasi

    All people regardless of how they dress are from Allah swt and those who carry out such criminal attacks on innocent kids – because they are different than them will be held answerable to Allah. In fact such attacks may even place the attackers outside Islam if they claim that they carried out such violence in the name of Islam.

    Mohammed Abbasi

    Association of British MuslimsRecommend

  • Thevoiceofreason

    Whenever I feel sympathetic to my fellow Pakistanis, to all the hate and abuse they receive, to all the malice directed to our religion and culture, I stumble upon some comments by my my fellow countrymen. Then everything makes sense.Recommend

  • http://www.indrajal.com Vishnu Dutta

    @Afghan Karachite:

    Absurd for you because you only understand the reason behind hijab but not behind being emo. You cant be judge of things and pick the things of your liking only.
    wake up, smell the coffee, it is 21st century my friend.
    if you want double standards then they will always be used against you.Recommend

  • intelektual

    @Ali Tanoli:
    and who appointed you the saviour and corrector of Muslims U think its Haram dont do it ! But learn to mind your own business ! Allah will decide others ryte or rong i.e. what the day of judgement is for !Recommend

  • intelektual

    @Green Fog:
    What we all should or should not do is open for argument ! In the meanwhile learn to mind your own business ! You are allowed to do whatever you think is best for You But guess what so are others ! Also religion is a personal indivudual matter not a collective one !Recommend

  • intelektual

    @Antebellum:
    Its not funny ! Alot of ppl were brutally murdered !Recommend

  • intelektual

    @momo:
    how can you think someone’s personal matters are warrant enough for them to be hanged !
    Whatever any1 is doing with their personal lifes HOW in the world it affects you ! or your religious convictions ! Yes thats ryte they do not affect You ! Den mind your own business and live your own self-righteous life !Recommend

  • intelektual

    @Afghan Karachite:
    Their belif & lifestyle is not harming anyone so Yes I support their individuality & respect their choices ! also 17 is a kid as recognized by the law ! some ppl even consider all teenagers as kids that goes on till 19 ! they were just begining their lifes with so much ahead of them no one needs to hijack anyone also this extremisim is being enforced in Schools as well ! they qualify as kids by your personal standards !Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Vishnu Dutta: Agree with you.Recommend

  • Nayla

    Why can’t people just LIVE AND LET LIVE?

    I’m not a fan of Emo, but they aren’t hurting me, so why should I care about it? They aren’t “devil worshipers”, or gay (well, I suppose some are, but emo and homosexuality have nothing to do with one another, it is just a music/fashion subculture).

    Things like this is what drives Westerners to hate Islam. Muslims keep saying, over and over, “Islam is the religion of peace”, and “islam teaches tolerance”, but they can say it until they turn blue in the face….until Muslims ACTUALLY START showing that Islam is peaceful and tolerant, it’s just a load of BS.Recommend

  • Noise

    Iraqi Shia leadership including Ayatollah Sistani have condemned these killings by misguided extremists. This is the difference between Iraq and Pakistan, where extremist killers are encouraged & rewarded by their religious leaders.Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    Iraq’s Emo killings: A horror story out of control?

    The Iraq media, like ours, are prone to exaggeration. However, such kids are indeed intimidated and this must stop. At least their top religious scholar outright condemned it, and even the junior opposing radical cleric, despite making his disgust for ‘emos’ known with demonizing rhetoric, discouraged any violence.

    Seems to be a lot of ignorance and hypocrisy in the comments that fails to understand what ‘emo’ kids are and how inhumane/criminal/haram it is to justify killing them.

    Currently the spate of bombings in Iraq, that claimed at least 45 lives across a dozen different cities yesterday, by like minded Al Qaeda terrorists is still the greater threat. Sadly, we have their sympathizers and supporters sitting in Pak, such as the dishonourable head of JI Munawar Hasan who declared notorious Kharjee terrorist Osama Bin Laden as ‘Shaheed’ (martyr). Recommend

  • Tanya

    That is so sad!):):):Recommend

  • Scr

    Yes, there is a world of difference. Gays are made so by Allah and born that way, while hijab can be thrown away anytime (except in the case of Prophet SAW’s wifes).Recommend

  • NEWMEXICO1980

    I am from the united states and could never imagine someone getting killed just for a fashion statement emo is a style of music and culture it has nothing to do with homosexuality and even if it did isn’t that a private matter ?! Since when are there bedroom police and if you advocate that watch out as you may soon find yourself not up to others standards ! Also the reason alot of people in the west don’t understand Islam is that it has to regulate every sphere of life public and private where as in the west our government stays out of our personal lives and religion and lets the citizen make up his or her minds !Recommend

  • god

    @Awais:
    greatest religion on earth? only people with unbalanced mentality say like that, they are superior then others. funny guy.Recommend