Friday, October 05, 2007

In Basra, vigilantes wage deadly campaign against women - Yahoo! News

In Basra, vigilantes wage deadly campaign against women - Yahoo! News:
"BASRA, Iraq — Women in Basra have become the targets of a violent campaign by religious extremists, who leave more than 15 female bodies scattered around the city each month, police officers say.

Maj. Gen. Abdel Jalil Khalaf , the commander of Basra's police, said Thursday that self-styled enforcers of religious law threatened, beat and sometimes shot women who they believed weren't sufficiently Muslim.

'This is a new type of terror that Basra is not familiar with,' he said. 'These gangs represent only themselves, and they are far outside religious, forgiving instructions of Islam.'

Often, he said, the 'crime' is no more than wearing Western clothes or not wearing a head scarf.

Before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Iraqi women had had rights enshrined in the country's constitution since 1959 that were among the broadest of any Arab or Islamic nation. However, while the new constitution says that women are equal under the law, critics have condemned a provision that says no law can contradict the 'established rulings' of Islam as weakening women's rights."

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