Iraqi government says the Instagram star who was shot dead in Baghdad was murdered by extremists — and another influencer told ‘you’re next’ has fled

tara Fares

  • Tara Fares was a huge Instagram star in Iraq and was shot dead on September 27 while driving her car in Baghdad.
  • Iraq’s Interior Ministry looked into the shooting and said Monday that extremists were behind her death.
  • Iraq is a very conservative Muslim society and Fares was often threatened for wearing reveling clothing.
  • Shimaa Qasim, another Instagrammer with 2.8 million followers, was told „you’re next“ after Fares’s death and fled the country on Monday, local news reported. 

Iraqi Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji said Monday that the Instagram star Tara Fares was murdered by extremists — and the Instagrammer told „you’re next“ hours after Fares’s death has fled to Jordan.

Fares was one of Iraq’s leading social media stars with 2.8 million followers on Instagram. She led the way in Iraq for women to express themselves online.

But her death on September 27 after she was shot three times while at the wheel of her car — along with those of three other women killed in suspicious circumstances during September — left Iraqis fearing that a conservative religious faction was targeting liberal women in the country.

#baghdad #iraq ❤️👻

A post shared by Tara Fares | تاره فارس (@its.tarafares) on May 21, 2017 at 6:42am PDT on

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

In a Facebook video posted on Monday, al-Araji said an extremist group, which he wasn’t willing to name, had been found responsible for the 22-year-old’s murder, Iraq 24 reported.

He promised to „bring perpetrators of Fares’s murder to justice to be tried in front of the Iraqi people.“

Tara faes

Shimaa Qasim, another influencer and model with 2.8 million followers, posted a tearful YouTube video in Arabic documenting how she was told „you’re next“ by online trolls after Fares’s murder. 

لايوجد من يخفف عنك همك كلهم لديهم الفضول لمعرفتهِ فقط !!!#شيماء_قاسم

A post shared by Shimaa Qasim – شيماء قاسم💠 (@shimaa_qasim) on Oct 6, 2018 at 1:39am PDT on

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Kurdistan news agency Rudaw reported on Monday that Qasim recently fled the country for Jordan and hadn’t left her house since Fares’s murder on September 27.

„I was threatened with murder. My life was in danger. The killing of this many people scared me. I wasn’t comfortable living there anymore. That is why I left Iraq and came to Jordan,“ she said to Rudaw.

A string of similar killings

Some people in Iraq are convinced that hard-line religious extremists are behind the attacks — in a move to confine women to the house and deprive them of freedom.

Iraq is a very conservative Muslim society and Fares was often threatened for wearing reveling clothing.

In September, two famous beauty salon owners were found dead under mysterious circumstances, and a prominent human rights activist was shot dead in broad daylight. 

Before Fares was killed, the prominent human rights activist Suad al-Ali was shot dead in the city of Basra, in a public marketplace. Al-Ali founded the al-Weed al-Alaiami for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization, according to the BBC.

Earlier in August, two prominent beauty brand owners were found dead only a week apart.

One of them, Rasha al-Hassan, was a beautician who owned the Viola salon in Baghdad. She was found dead on August 24 in her home. Little other information about her death has been made public.

The other, Rafeef al-Yasiri, 32, was known as „Iraq’s Barbie“ and was prominent on social media. She was found dead on August 17, a week before al-Hassan.

Al-Yasiri was a plastic surgeon herself and organized national programs specializing in medical affairs for women, CNN reported.

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