In Iraq it seems as though there are Muslim militia groups targeting and killing teenagers who are involved in the emo subculture. They, incorrectly, describe it as Satanism and threaten children with death if they do not change the way that they dress. Religion is the source of the hatred and Reuters reports that a leaflet, from Baghdad, warning teenagers to change their ways includes the phrases, “the punishment of God will descend upon you.”
The government denies that there are any killings linked to the emo subculture, although it said that it was monitoring the phenomenon while simultaneously labelling it as Satanism. Similarly Muslim clerics condemn the killings, though I’ve noted before that the position of believers does not always correspond with those of the religious leaders. Once religion takes hold it becomes extremely difficult to reason with the faithful. That aside, whether or not the clerics actively condemn the killings their own statements are certainly not helping the situation. One Shi’ite cleric called emos “a plague on Muslim society.”
Listening to a certain style of music or dressing a certain way are not “wrongdoings” as one cleric’s aide described them. That is a person’s choice to express their own personality and style and no one has the right to interfere with it unless it is imposing on the rights of other people. Needless to say that is not the case here. This is just an example of a group of violent individuals trying to force everyone to adhere to their own irrational and unevidenced beliefs.
It would be one thing if, as claimed, these events were isolated and purely by militia groups but we know that is not the case. In Saudi Arabia there is a government-recognised police force, known as the Mutaween, who exist to enforce Islamic laws. Some of these laws include rules about how people should dress and are carried out with no regard for people’s lives. In 2002, when a school in Mecca caught fire the Mutaween were there to help and enforce Sharia law. If you think they assisted people from escaping the burning building you would be wrong. What they did was prevent firemen from helping some girls who were not correctly dressed and also prevent the girls from leaving the school. They would rather children burned to death than go out in public without the hijab.