Prominent Iraqi TikToker, Noor Alsaffar, was fatally shot in Baghdad on Wednesday. Noor Alsaffar was known for her comedic videos and had over 1 million followers on the social media platform. Her death has sparked outrage and protests in Iraq.
A well-known Iraqi TikToker, Noor Alsaffar, known as ‘Noor BM,’ was tragically shot and killed in Baghdad on Monday. Noor, who was only 23 years old, had a large following on Instagram and TikTok. Where he shared videos about fashion, hairstyles, makeup, and dancing.
After the news of his passing, many fans expressed their sorrow. While others disturbingly celebrated the person responsible for the shooting. An Iraqi security source confirmed the incident and mentioned that an investigation is underway.
The spokesperson for the Iraqi police, Khaled Almehna, labeled the incident as a ‘criminal incident’ and promised to share further updates.
This heartbreaking incident occurred at a time when Iraq was clamping down on LGBTQ individuals and seeking to make it illegal. While being queer is not explicitly prohibited by current Iraqi laws, LGBTQ people often face discrimination under vague moral clauses in the penal code.
Iraqi Tiktoker Noor Alsaffar had previously spoken about the challenges he faced online regarding his choice of clothing. In a 2020 interview, he clarified that he identified as male, worked as a model, and was a makeup artist. He also expressed his caution, but not fear, about being in the public eye.
IraQueer, an Iraqi LGBTQ rights group, paid tribute to Alsaffar on social media, using hashtags like #Transphobia and #MurderOfTransPeople.
Sadly, there’s a new proposed law in the Iraqi parliament that aims to explicitly criminalize gay relationships, transgender expression, and other LGBTQ behaviors. If passed, this law could lead to severe penalties, including the death penalty for same-sex relationships.
Rights groups have raised concerns about the increasing discrimination and violence against LGBTQ individuals in Iraq. They’ve noted a rise in protests against the LGBTQ community, often by supporters of certain religious factions.
In August, Iraq’s media regulator prohibited the use of the term ‘homosexuality’ in all forms of media and insisted on using ‘sexual deviance’ instead.
This harsh treatment of LGBTQ communities is part of a wider trend in the Middle East, where online targeting is followed by severe punishment, including arbitrary detention and torture. Human Rights Watch has highlighted these violations in several countries, including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia.