Although most of the attacks have been on women, some of the brutal murders include boys who dress in alternative fashions, such as many American youth who are considered "emo" or "goth" and frequently dress in black. The militias justify the killings by claiming targets are devil worshippers, homosexuals, or adulterers. Most of the attacks convey some sort of warning in order to stop acting in transgression with Islam and the victims are told to change their ways or suffer a violent honor killing. A handful of victims were shot in cold blood, while others had their faces bashed in with heavy cement blocks.
Reports from NGOs, like the Brussels Tribunal, claim that as many as over a hundred youth have been murdered in the targeted killings by Islamic militias. Others say the numbers are greatly exaggerated as an act of anti-religious propaganda and to simply turn people against their faith.
This has brought out various commentaries by clerical officials on the matter. Muqtada al-Sadr, a top Shiite cleric has condemned the youth that act in a manner of being "emo" and said, “emos” are “fools” and “experts must finish them;" however in accordance with the law. Over a dozen of those murdered lived in Sadr city, where a Shiite majority offers al-Sadr political support.
Another member of Iraq's Islamic Supreme Council, revered Shiite Sheikh, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, somewhat differed with al-Sadr and said the killings are “bad phenomenon for the peaceful co-existence project,” and even went so far as to say they are acts of terrorism.
Revered Ayatollah Mohammed al-Yakoubi says that it should be the duty of people to advise such youth, encouraging a non-violent approach, and also suggested that the mainstream press seeks to defile Islam by making it seem like an unreasonable faith.
While activists have posted pictures of some of the battered teens, Ali al-Hilli, chairman of Iraqi LGBT, a non-profit group based in the UK, is quick to point to facts like the estimated 750 gay Iraqis that have been killed since 2006, as an example of the magnitude of violence. Collaboration between police, clerics, and schools has often cracked down on emo kids and say that their lifestyle encourages socially abhorrent behavior like practicing "dirty activities" at nearby coffee shops or cafes.
Militants in Sadr city have distributed a list of 33 names and addresses of kids that fit the profile of someone they feel need to be exterminated. One example is of fliers or leaflets that have been distributed in neighborhoods singling out teens by their nicknames and pointing out personal information like their address.
All but one of the targets on the list from Sadr city is male. However many males are scared to leave their home without cutting their hair for fear they may be targeted. The victims who are male are often conflated as homosexuals because of their hipster style that is common in western fashions. Recent reports link back to an Iraq Interior Ministry memo that classifies the "emo" culture specifically as a threat that encourages behavior that is socially abhorrent.
Officials discounted the memo as being misread or misunderstood. However human rights groups and people everywhere are scratching their heads wondering how clothing items and personal lifestyle choices can serve as a threat, and why these kids aren't being protected. As technology has made various degrees of human culture more accessible, counter cultures have seeped into the fabric of even Iraqi society, where they might seem in extreme unorthodoxy to those who have a one dimensional understanding of Islam.
As often we develop a habit of victimizing ourselves as Muslims but we see that there's a lot of hate amongst us that needs to be corrected. Iraq is historically a country known for sectarian violence. But those who drive people away from Islam and claim to fight for it are by definition hypocrites and ironically a caste of human that both punks and Muslims have historically fought against, making the rightly guided their formidable opponent.