The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Iraqi women burned with acid for non-religious clothing

by Chris Shumway

July 6, 2005 – Police in Baghdad say an increasing number of women are being attacked for opting to wear Western clothing in public instead of traditional Islamic dress. The weapon of choice for attackers is corrosive acid, according to police and several survivors.

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"A month ago I was walking from my college to my house when I was abducted in the street by three men," Hania Abdul-Jabbar, a 23-year-old university student, told IRIN News. "They dropped acid in my face and on my legs. They cut all my hair off while hitting me in the face many times telling me it's the price for not obeying God's wish in using the veil."

Major Abbas Dilemi, a police investigator in Baghdad, told IRIN that most of the acid attacks had occurred in the upscale Sunni district of Al-Mansour and the Shiite Al-Kadhimiya districts. He also said Islamic fundamentalists have recruited children to carry out some attacks.

Fundamentalists in other parts of the country have instituted their own brand of Sharia, or Islamic law, violently targeting women who do not comply with dress codes and other rules. In the western province of Al-Anbar, fundamentalists have reportedly killed five women for not following the orders of religious militants who have effectively held power in the region since the 2003 US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.


Chris Shumway is a contributing journalist.

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