Killing of Iraqi social media star spikes concern of rise in violence

Digital Originals

Photo credit: Instagram @its.tarafares

A 22-year-old model, who had over two million Instagram followers, was shot and killed in broad daylight on the streets of Baghdad last week. The murder followed the killing of a female activist in Iraq’s southern province of Basra, and the deaths of two popular beauty experts.

The young model, Tara Fares, was outspoken about her views, and her fashion sense, on her social media accounts. “I’m not doing anything in the dark like many others; everything I do is in the broad daylight,” Fares has said.

Her death was in broad daylight—and captured on security camera video as she drove through the busy streets of Baghdad in her white Porsche before being shot by a man on a motorcycle.

The violence comes in the midst of political tensions surrounding the formation of a new government in Iraq, and months of protests in Iraq’s southern province of Basra over poor public services.

There are currently no known links between the deaths of the women in Iraq. However, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi ordered an investigation into Fares’ killing, and any potential links to the other deaths.

Former Miss Iraq Shaimaa Qassim days later posted that she has received threats on social media.

Abadi said that he thinks groups are “carrying out a plan to destabilize the security situation under the pretext of fighting perversion,” referring to the fact that the women that are being threatened or killed are women who have a public image.