Brutal murder in Najaf highlights endemic violence against women in Iraq


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SULAIMANI — A number of social networking sites have published the shocking story of a murdered bride in Najaf that highlights the brutal patriarchy present in contemporary society regarding its treatment of women.

According to BBC Arabic, a bridegroom attempted to return his bride to her parents on the second day after their wedding, alleging that she was not a virgin.

At the news, the bride’s father suffered a sudden heart attack and died.

The bride's brother became enraged and beat his sister to death with a sharp object in an apparent “honor killing.”

The woman’s mother believed her daughter’s word and demanded that the medical authorities perform an autopsy of her body, which determined that she was still, in fact, a virgin.

An Iraqi security source has said that the brother was arrested by police.

Reports of the incident provoked widespread anger, with many condemning the continued prevalence of so-called “honor crimes” and advocating the maximum penalty for those who commit them.

For their part, activists on Facebook have sympathized with the woman and appealed to the authorities to amend the law to ensure that perpetrators of "honor crimes” are punished.

Activists believe that the story of the bride in Najaf has once again demonstrated that "despite the manifestations of modernity in society, it still follows a masculine tribal system that evades the law in matters of honor.”

"When we advocate for women's rights, we seek to free them from backward customs and traditions, save them from death, and break the masculine chains that prevent them from living and deprive them of their human dignity, " wrote blogger Hazan al-Khuzairi.

"The Bride of Najaf is the victim of ignorance, backwardness, and male society," commented Lana Amir.