22-year-old Tara Fares, an Iraqi model and social media influencer, was shot dead in Baghdad on September 27. Fares was a prominent beauty queen with almost three million followers on Instagram. On Thursday, some gunmen opened fire on her in the city’s Kam Sara neighbourhood.

Lifestyle and fearlessness upset traditionalists

Fares, sometime back, had posted publicly about a violent ex-husband and a fiancé who died in an attack in Istanbul. While Fares’ lifestyle and fearless social media influences inspired many young Iraqis, the traditionalists were upset by it. The outspoken model was often a target of online insults. Fares, because of this dark side of online platforms, quit living in her native Baghdad. She spent most of her time in the comparatively liberal and secular Iraqi Kurdistan.

Doctors confirmed to the local media that she had died after suffering three bullet wounds. It is unclear who killed Fares. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) supporters had been giving her death threats for sometime now

The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior has announced an open investigation into the model’s death.

View this post on Instagram

They don’t wanna see u WIN ???

A post shared by Tara Fares | تاره فارس (@its.tarafares) on

Supporters scream discrimination and misogyny

Fans began posting and commenting across social media soon after the incident. While many applauded her outspokenness and fearlessness, some conservative minds continued accusing her of being a bad influence.

A journalistDaryna Sarhan, called out the discrimination against women in the region. “Tara’s death screams discrimination, lack of freedom and rights. Sympathy is not enough,” she wrote.

Fares not the lone target 

She is not the only beauty entrepreneur to have met her death recently. Suad al-ali, an Iraqi human rights activist, was shot and killed in her car in the southern city of Basra recently.

In August, managers of Baghdad’s two most high-profile aesthetic and plastic surgery centres died in mysterious circumstances. Rafif al-Yassiri and Rasha al-Hassan were killed in their homes. There is an ongoing investigation underway for these deaths.

These deaths have sparked fear in the country among women who dare to break the mould and become visibly successful.

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