This Is Important, You Should Know About It of the Day: Over the weekend, troubling allegations have emerged of many Iraqi teenagers being stoned to death for dressing in "emo fashion."
Scores of teens wearing skinny pants and graphic tees, and sporting a signature "emo style" haircut have allegedly been clobbered with cinder blocks [warning: graphic images] by members of the Iraq's "moral police."
Though the number might be lower -- Reuters put the death toll at 14 -- the terrifying trend appears to have at least a measure of consent from Iraq's Interior Ministry, which suggests it could get much worse.
"[The Moral Police] have official approval to eliminate them as soon as possible, because the dimensions of the community began to take another course, and is now threatening danger," read a statement from the ministry, which also compared "the Emo phenomenon" to "devil worshipping."
When confronted with claims that it approved the slaying, an Interior Ministry spokesman said the statement was being "misinterpreted."
The anti-emo movement, meanwhile, isn't waiting for clarification. Fliers being circulated in Shiite neighborhoods include lists of residents identified as emo who are warned to change their style and stop listening to metal, emo, and rap music or risk "God's punishment" at the hands of the mujahedeen.
Moktada al-Sadr, infamous leader of the Shiite militia known as the Mahdi Army denied being behind the threats, but nevertheless agreed with the sentiment that emo teens were "unnatural."
The spate of violence against teenagers joins a longer bullying campaign against members of Iraq's LGBT community. Hundreds have reportedly been killed in the last six years, and many are currently being targeted by death squads who abduct suspected gay men and women from their homes and slay them.
Ali Hili, a London-based Iraqi gay rights activist, claims to have obtained a document from the Iraqi Interior Ministry which, much like the statement on emo teens, orders the "elimination of the so-called homosexuals." According to Hili, the Mahdi Army and the influential Badr Organisation are responsible for the violence, and they have the open support of the government in their actions.
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