14:10 GMT +321 October 2018
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    Syrian and Lebanese girls huddle round in a group discussion about early marriage at a community centre in southern Lebanon.

    From Selfie to Death Warrant: Muslim Women Use Social Media Despite Threats

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    The murder of a beauty queen, who was shot dead by a group of unknown assailants in Baghdad, has followed the suspicious deaths of other female Instagram bloggers from Iraq and brought into spotlight similar stories from other Muslim countries, where local girls have paid for their social activity with their lives.

    After 22-year-old Iraqi model Tara Fares was shot dead by gunmen in Iraq, many netizens have taken their fear and alarm to social media, claiming her murder is an ominous sign of the existing problems in the country’s conservative society.

    Tattooed Fares, reportedly crowned Miss Baghdad in 2015, gained an impressive following of 2.7 million people and was voted one of Iraq's most influential social media personalities. However, along with admiring comments from her fans and friends, the girl, who often posted pictures in shorts, short skirts and short-sleeved dresses, considered normal in the West, but inappropriate in the eyes of the conservative Islamic society, was often threatened because of her photos. Even her death didn’t stop the flow of negativity.

    ​Just a month before her murder, two women, who had accounts dedicated to fashion and beauty, were found dead under suspicious circumstances. One of them was a local plastic surgeon, dubbed “Iraqi Barbie”; the other owned a beauty salon.

    This spat of deaths freshened memories about the murder of Pakistani model and blogger Qandeel Baloch, dubbed the Pakistani Kim Kardashian. The 26-year-old woman, who provided for her family with her social media activities, had been strangled by her brother. He later claimed that he had no repentance for his deeds, as his sister, who posted bikini pictures, was a shame for the family.

    READ MORE: Iranian Woman Says She Was Given Two Years in Jail for Anti-Hijab Protest

    However, the rage of families and religious countrymen doesn’t stop many young people in Muslim countries from enjoying a social media presence.
    In Iran, posh guys and girls share snaps of their beautiful lives with fashion shoots, restaurants, yachts and pool parties, on an Instagram account called the Rich Kids of Tehran. While some women in the photos stick to traditional hijabs, covering their heads, others pose in bikinis and tiny dresses.

    Some young Iranian have turned their social media activity into protests as girls and women  dare to post photos with uncovered head under the hashtag #mystealthyfreedom.

    There are those who are ready to go further than just uncovering their heads. Women from Pakistan and Lebanon took part in 2015 porn movie “Women of the Middle East.” The women, featuring there, claimed they did it to open the world of freedom for the women in hijabs and burqas.

    Related:

    Iraqi Beauty Queen, Active Fashion Blogger Shot Dead in Baghdad
    Iranian Woman Says She Was Given Two Years in Jail for Anti-Hijab Protest
    WATCH: Iranian Women Share Dancing Videos to Support Jailed Instagram Star
    Iran Lets Women Watch World Cup in Public For First Time in Almost 40 Years
    Tags:
    honor killing, selfie, social media, Instagram, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq
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