Women Under Attack: The Talibanization of Iraq

But today, most of her friends have left the country. Women for Women International keeps its locations secret and takes all sorts of security precautions. Salbi herself stopped traveling back to her homeland two years ago. “At first I was able to say I knew 10, 20 women who had been assassinated,” she says. “Now, I’ve lost count. … They are pharmacists, professors, reporters, activists …”

“Often, the first salvo in a war for theocracy is a systematic attack on women and minorities who represent or demand an alternative or competing vision for society,” wrote Yifat Susskind, Iraq coordinator of the international human- and women’s-rights organization MADRE, in a report she authored on “gender apartheid” in Iraq. “These initial targets are usually the most marginalized and, therefore, most vulnerable members of society, and once they are dealt with, fundamentalist forces then proceed towards less vulnerable targets.”

Bay Fang | Ms. Magazine