by Rosie Alfatlawi
An Iraqi actor whose appearance had been mocked on social media has reportedly been kidnapped and murdered in Baghdad.
Recognisable from his long blonde hair, Karar Noshi had become well-known on Facebook after a number of pages shared images of the fine arts graduate.
Kurdistan24 reported on Monday that “security forces and witnesses” had indicated that Noshi’s body was found in central Baghdad following his kidnap, although there was no official confirmation. The Irbil-based site added that there was “evidence he had been tortured and viciously stabbed”.
Unconfirmed images purporting to be of Noshi’s body were also circulated online.
One Iraqi social media page suggested he had been targeted for the way he looked.
It is possible to be killed in Iraq if you decide to wake up in the morning and change your hairstyle!
Karar Noshi is a young Iraqi graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts who works in theater.
His family received the body of their son Karar a short while ago after he was found dead on Palestine Street (in central Baghdad).
Noshi had apparently received a number of death threats over his physical appearance and hairstyle.
The page “Iraqis in the United States” reported on Monday that Noshi had become famous after a number of Facebook pages claimed that he was nominated to be “Beauty King of Iraq”.
According to this account, Noshi had responded in a Facebook post saying the claims were false and writing that Iraq’s true “beauty king” was “every young man fighting with all his honor to defend the nation”.
“As for the pictures, they are from theatrical and cinematic works of art, which I pride myself on. I cherish my personal freedom to build a unique external appearance,” he wrote.
“I remain silent about the abusive responses that undoubtedly reflect the level of their writers.”
Many commentators had derided and insulted Noshi for his “effeminate appearance”.
Homophobia and transphobia are widespread in Iraqi society, and a number of young men have been similarly attacked in previous years for "cross-dressing".
Al Mutar later wrote that "Shia extremists" were behind the killing, perhaps referring to Iraq's powerful socially conservative Shia militias. The armed groups have also been accused of kidnapping secular activists in recent months.
According to his Facebook page, which has 4,500 followers, Noshi had been performing in a comic play at the Najah Theatre in the Iraqi capital over the Eid period.