Home Scandal and Gossip Former Miss Baghdad killed: Secular social media star threat

Former Miss Baghdad killed: Secular social media star threat

Tara Fares
Pictured, Iraqi beauty pageant winner and social media star, Tara Fares.
Tara Fares
Pictured, Iraqi beauty pageant winner and social media star, Tara Fares.

Tara Fares death: Iraqi beauty pageant winner and social media star murdered in the latest assassination against secular voices and women’s rights advocates. 

A former Iraqi beauty queen has been murdered by two motorcyclists who opened gunfire on the social media personality as she drover her white convertible through Baghdad

Tara Fares’ death comes as the latest in a string of attacks on secular minded female identities in the volatile nation.

At the time of her shooting death, Thursday afternoon, Fares, 22 had 2.8 million Instagram followers.

Local media reported the ‘tattooed’ fashion model/instagram star being by three bullets while driving her Porsche through an upscale neighborhood in Iraq’s capital.

Fares, a former Miss Baghdad and runner-up for Miss Iraq, was living in the Kurdish-dominated town of Erbil but had been spending more time in Baghdad recently. She was a Christian whose father is Iraqi and mother is Lebanese.

Her killers are unknown but many of her fans on social media said they believed she had been targeted by religious fanatics who wanted to stop Iraqi women freely expressing themselves.

Tara Fares death: Social media erupts, condemnation while some revel in her murder.

Posted one follower, ‘in a treacherous and cowardly incident, Tara Fares Chamoun is with God. We asked God to accept her with His greatest mercy.’’

‘Anyone who finds excuses for those who kill a girl just because she had decided to live like most other girls on the planet is an accomplice to her murder,’ posted Ahmad al-Basheer, an Iraqi satirist.

But not all rallied against Fares’ death, with one journalist working for state-run al-Iraqiya TV Haider Zawyyerdescribed the secular social media star as a ‘whore.’ The man was reported to have then deleted the tweet with Twitter deleting his account.

Tara Fares death: The latest in a string against women

Fares’s shooting death follows the assassination of women’s rights activist, Suad al-Ali, earlier that week in Basra, Iraq- while making her way to her car. The city had been rocked by protests over corruption and unsafe water in recent weeks and Ms Ali was involved in organizing the demonstrations.

Nibras al-Maamouri, the head of the Iraqi Women Journalists Forum, told the nytimes that the targeting of well-known females in Iraq had ‘greatly increased.’

‘This is not something new, but to reach to the level of direct killing in front of people is dangerous,’ she said.

‘What happened to Tara Fares was abhorrent.’

Rudaw reported Iraqi beauty experts also dying in mysterious circumstances in August, leading some Iraqis to believe they were being targeted.

Rafeef al-Yaseri, the owner of the well-known Barbie beauty centre, was found dead in her Baghdad home on August 16. A week later, Rasha al-Hassan, another salon owner, was also found dead.

In the months prior to her shooting death, Fares seemingly indicated being aware that she too was a potential target of extremists.

In an Instagram post in July she wrote: ‘It does not frighten me that there are those who reject the existence of God. What really frightens me is there are those who kill and slaughter to prove the existence of God.’

The Iraqi interior ministry has since issued a statement that it was investigating the woman’s murder.