The crime was not actually “entertaining the children,” as the Times headline has it. It was entertaining non-Muslim children. Sharia Alert from the New Democratic Iraq. “Executed for the crime of entertaining the children,” from the TimesOnline, with thanks to JE:
FOR the crime of staging a children’s show, Faud Radi and Haidar Jawad were executed by the new moral guardians of Baghdad.
The actors were part of the Happy Family Team, a troupe adored by millions of Iraqi children from its frequent appearances on television. The theatrical group and a dozen others were planning an 11-day festival to help youngsters to forget momentarily the curfews, bombings and other dangers of daily life in this city.
Armed militias, which pass for the law in many neighbourhoods these days, had other ideas and set out to sabotage the event.
Safaa Eadi, 31, a founding member of the Happy Family Team, told how the group had been threatened by gunmen, who objected to them giving drama classes to children of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds. A handwritten note had been left on the windscreen of the group’s van, the usual method that the militias employ to warn a target.
“We didn’t take them seriously, so we carried on,” Mr Eadi said. “The next day the building was burnt down.” Then, on the eve of the festival, Mr Radi, 20, and Mr Jawad, 25, were returning to their homes in the Amirayah district of western Baghdad, the heartland of Sunni insurgents.
They were in the van, so they made an easily identifiable target. They had offered to drive a woman friend to hospital on their way. Their vehicle came under a barrage of gunfire on a main road. Mr Jawad and the woman passenger died instantly. Mr Radi was dragged from the van and beaten to death.
Sifting through photographs of the murdered men, Mr Eadi said: “What has Baghdad come to when actors are seen as the enemy? We are not politicians. We don’t care what a child’s religion is. Our goal is to bring joy. Whoever did this cannot have a family of their own, or how could they murder someone who just wanted to make people laugh? This is the start of a mini Taleban in Baghdad if the gunmen decide what we can and cannot do as entertainers.” He buried his head in his hands.
The surviving members of the group voted unanimously to go ahead with the pageant, held at the Children’s Cultural Centre. The performers dared not put up posters, so invitations were passed by word of mouth. Shows were staged during daylight to beat the curfew.