One of only three women on Iraq’s Governing Council remains in critical condition after her car was ambushed by men with semiautomatic weapons in an assassination attempt Saturday morning. Aqila Hashimi suffered gunshot wounds to her abdomen and her leg, the LA Times reports. Her brother Zaid, who had been serving as one of her bodyguards, told the New York Times that she had received threats recently for collaborating with the US. Hashimi is a diplomat and a Shiite who is the only member of the current Governing Council who had served in Saddam Hussein’s government.
Other members of the Governing Council have been pleading with US authorities to provide them with more security and bodyguards, including Dr. Raja Habib Khuzau. Dr. Khuzau was originally provided with bodyguards by the US but those were later taken away. Her only source of protection has been from her brother and three other men who have no training; she is paying them out of her own pocket. Hashimi had also been relying on family members to provide her with bodyguards.
Women in Iraq have thus far not only been largely excluded from the reconstruction process, but looting, violence and threats of extremism have kept them in their homes. They are also facing restrictions on their rights by religious fundamentalist groups. “This issue of security is the immediate issue for women now,” said Yanar Mohammed, founder of the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq, according to the NY Times.