Who Was Iraqi TikTok Star Om Fahad Shot Dead Outside Her Baghdad Home? | World News

Om Fahad, an Iraqi TikTok star, was shot dead in a late-night attack outside her home in eastern Baghdad’s Zoyouna district, Al Jazeera reported on Saturday. According to surveillance camera footage from the incident site, the viral creator of the short video-making platform Tiktok was shot down by an unidentified assailant who arrived on a motorbike dressed in dark clothing and a helmet, got off the motorbike, walked towards a black SUV, and shot Om Fahad, who was sitting inside.

According to Al Jazeera, the Ministry of Interior announced the formation of a team to investigate the circumstances surrounding the killing.

Who Was Iraqi Social Media Influencer Om Fahad?

With almost half a million followers on TikTok, Om Fahad—real name: Ghufran Sawadi—became well-known for posting videos of herself dancing to pop music.

A court found in February 2023 that she had posted videos that included “indecent speech that undermines modesty and public morality” and sentenced her to six months in prison. Over a million people have watched some of her videos.

Investigations against other online content creators were initiated, and five more were sentenced to prison terms of up to two years at the time. This came after the Iraqi Interior Ministry formed a committee in January 2023 to investigate “obscene and degrading content” posted online by influencers such as Om Fahad, with the stated goal of protecting “morals and family traditions” in society.

Additionally, an online platform was established, according to Al Jazeera, where Iraqi users were urged to report any such content for removal. At the time, officials asserted that tens of thousands of reports had been registered by the public, and that the public had embraced the platform.

Following the ministry’s crackdown, some online content creators were compelled to issue an apology and remove portions of their work.

In a report released last year, the Geneva-based Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor stated that it could not find any reason to indict Om Fahad and that her writing did not go beyond the bounds of her freedom of expression, opinion, and publication.

 

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