Influencer Tara Fares was killed by extremists in broad daylight — now other women in Iraq are being told they’re next.
The social media star was shot and killed while driving her car midday in Baghdad. The 22-year-old model and former beauty queen used her platform to encourage women and her millions of followers to express themselves in a traditionally conservative country.
After Fares’ death, former Miss Iraq Shimaa Qasim says she received anonymous threats saying “you’re next.” Qasim says she fled to Jordan out of fear for her life.
“I was threatened with murder. My life was in danger,” she explained to Rudaw News. “The killing of this many people scared me. I wasn’t comfortable living there anymore. That is why I left and came to Jordan.”
Fares’ death is part of a string of violence against progressive women in the country. In September 2018, Suad al-Ali was shot dead in an outdoor market in Basra, Iraq. The human rights activist started an organization that fought for the rights of women and children.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Rafeef al-Yassiri, a.k.a. “Iraq’s Barbie,” and prominent beautician Rasha al-Hassan were also murdered earlier this year. Authorities gave little information about their deaths.
Prime Minister Dr. Haider al-Abadi has ordered an investigation into all the women’s deaths, which he’s called “well-planned kidnappings and killings.”