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Women in Iraq Increasingly Attacked for Not Wearing Headscarves

Acts of violence against Iraqi women who do not wear headscarves have more than tripled in the three years since the US invasion, according to the Women’s Rights Association in Iraq. Many of the attacks are carried out by family members to protect the family’s “honor,” reports IRIN News, the United Nations News Service.

“Women are being killed because they don’t wear headscarves and veils,” said WRA spokeswoman Mayada Zuhair, IRIN reports. “A life is being taken because of a simple piece of cloth, and someone should prevent more women from being killed by these ignorant people who believe that honor depends on what you’re wearing.”

According to the WRA, 80 attacks and four “honor killings” by family members were reported in the past three years, compared to 22 attacks and one death in the previous four years. Iraqi women who feel endangered rarely seek help, said Zuhair, because tradition prevents public authorities from getting involved in private matters, reports IRIN.

MADRE, an international human rights organization, has called on the United Nations to address the spike in “honor killings” in Iraq and to include gender education in the training of police, health workers, and members of the judiciary.

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Sources:

OneWorld UK 3/8/06; IRIN news service 3/7/06