Popular Iraqi content creator and TikTok star Eman Sami Maghdid was allegedly shot dead in a case of supposed honour killing, recent reports suggest. Known to her online fans simply as Maria, the 20-year-old was known for challenging conventional norms, for instance by posing in clothes that showed her midriff or smoking.
Maghdid’s brother, who is 17 years old, is named as the accused in the case, as per certain reports. Initially, the accused in Maghdid’s death were not identified, described only as unnamed assailants. However, Metro claims it was her brother who shot her. An uncle of the late influencer was also taken into police custody.
The accused reportedly fired multiple bullets into Maghdid over the past weekend, on a road near the Erbil International Airport, in the Iraqi region of Kurdistan.
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As per local reports, Maghdid was vocal about women’s rights and was hailed for her activism towards the cause. Besides questioning social norms of dress, Maghdid also defied religious codes of Islam by wearing a cross around her neck. However, her family claims she had not converted and only liked wearing the Christian symbol.
Maghdid’s brother had allegedly admitted to killing her over a radio interview earlier this month on March 8. He was briefly on the run before being apprehended by police.
Police have declined to release further information in the case, citing the ongoing investigation, according to reports.
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Maghdid’s tragic death has prompted a wave of outrage on social media, from her thousands-strong following as well as from netizens pointing to the regressiveness of practices like honour killing. The spotlight is on Kurdistan which has emerged as a hotspot of gender crimes in recent times.
As per data quoted by Rudaw, there have been 24 recorded killings of women in the region over the past year. Last month, a 23-year-old transgender woman called Doski Azad was murdered in Iraqi Kurdistan by her brother in a case of honour killing. She had left home and was vocal about her identity on social media. Her family had allegedly threatened her over her transition.