Several Iraqi women have been burned by acid attacks during recent weeks in Baghdad and the western province of Anbar. Acid attacks are a form of violence against women where acid is thrown at or sprayed on women’s faces, legs, or other exposed body parts, in order to punish women in this case for not wearing the ‘abaya,’ a long black cloak that only reveals the nose, mouth, eyes, and hands.
Hania Abdul-Jabbar, a university student, had acid thrown on her face and legs by three men for not wearing the veil out in public. “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,” according to IRIN News. Today Abdul-Jabbar is blind in one eye, and her face is completely deformed due to the acid attack.
Since Hussein’s removal in 2003, at least five women have been killed in Anbar for not obeying orders by religious extremists to wear the veil and women continue to be threatened today, IRIN News reports.
Despite such threats, many Iraqi women refuse to be intimidated by religious extremists. Hiba Zuheir, who is 24 years old, explained, “I won’t force myself to use something that I don’t feel comfortable with. Women in Iraq are losing their place in society and we have to fight that and determine who we are and how we should dress, despite these dangers,” according to IRIN News.