Iraqi Girl’s Stoning Death Causes Furor
Although it was sadly not an isolated incident, the bloody death by stoning of a 17-year-old girl has sparked controversy about sectarian strife and gender relations in Iraq, which some believe have taken a sharp turn for the worse since the beginning of the war in 2003.
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A slender, black-haired girl is dragged in a headlock through a braying mob of men. Within seconds, she is on the ground in a fetal position, covering her head with her arms in a futile attempt to fend off a shower of stones.
Someone slams a concrete block onto the back of her head. A river of blood oozes from beneath her long, tangled hair. The girl stops moving, but the kicks and the rocks keep coming, as do the victorious shouts of the men delivering them.
In the eyes of many in her community in northern Iraq, 17-year-old Duaa Khalil Aswad’s crime was to love a boy from another religion. She was a Yazidi, a member of an insular religious sect. He was a Sunni Muslim. To Duaa’s uncle and cousins, that was reason enough to put her to death last month in the village of Bashiqa.
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