Iraqi female TikTok star was shot dead outside of her home

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A gunman on a motorbike shot dead a well-known Iraqi social media influencer known as Om Fahad outside her Baghdad home on Friday, Iraqi security officials told AFP.
The unidentified attacker shot Om Fahad in her car in the Zayouna district, a security official said, requesting anonymity because he was not cleared to speak to the media.
Another security source said the attacker appeared to have pretended to be making a food delivery.
Security camera footage aired by Iraqi TV showed the assailant arriving on a motorbike and then on foot approaching the black SUV where she was said to be sitting.
The shooter opens the driver’s door and fires shots into the vehicle, then flees.
Om Fahad, whose legal name was Ghufran Sawadi, had become known for light-hearted TikTok videos of herself dancing to Iraqi music and wearing tight-fitting clothes.
Despite years of war and sectarian conflict after the 2003 United States invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein, Iraq has returned to a semblance of normality.
But civil liberties — for women, sexual minorities and other groups — remain constrained in the conservative society.


Iraqi security officials told AFP that Om Fahad, a well-known social media influencer in Iraq, was shot and killed by a gunman riding a motorcycle on Friday outside her home in Baghdad.

In the Zayouna district, the unidentified attacker shot Om Fahad in her car, according to a security official who spoke to the media on condition of anonymity.

According to a second security source, the attacker seemed to have posed as a person delivering food.

Iraqi TV released security camera footage showing the attacker arriving on a motorcycle, then making his way toward the black SUV where she was allegedly sitting on foot. After shooting into the car through the driver’s door, the gunman runs away.

A team to look into the shooting will be assembled, according to the Iraqi interior ministry. Thus far, there have been arrests made.

Om Fahad, whose true name was Ghufran Sawadi, was well-known for her humorous TikTok videos in which she danced to music from Iraq while sporting form-fitting attire. On her account, she had close to 500,000 followers.

Sawadi had a falling out with Dalia Naeem, a.k.a. the “Iraqi Barbie,” a fellow social media influencer. According to local reports cited by Western media outlets, the dispute was said to have escalated recently, with Naeem threatening to reveal an alleged “relationship” with senior Iraqi officials.

Sawadi was given a six-month jail sentence in February 2023 by a judge for sharing “videos containing indecent speech that undermines modesty and public morality.”. “.

For similar offenses, five other Iraqi content creators were also sentenced to prison last year.

At the time, the independent Geneva-based organization Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor stated, “It is extremely concerning that several social media content creators were detained and found guilty by Iraqi authorities on nebulous charges that do not justify the restriction of natural rights.”. “.

Last year, the Iraqi government started a campaign to remove social media posts that it claimed violated Iraqi “morals and traditions.”. “.

To search TikTok, YouTube, and other platforms for videos it considered offensive, an interior ministry committee was formed.

Authorities now report that a number of influencers have been arrested.

Iraq has returned to something approaching normalcy after years of war and sectarian strife following the 2003 US invasion to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

However, in this conservative society, civil liberties—for women, sexual minorities, and other groups—remain restricted.

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