Who Killed Om Fahad? Iraqi TikTok Star Shot Dead Outside Her Baghdad Home Following Feud With Rival Influencer Iraqi Barbie [GRAPHIC]

The online celebrity had gained recognition for her cheerful TikTok videos, featuring herself dancing to Iraqi music while wearing form-fitting attire.

Iraqi TikTok sensation Om Fahad was reportedly shot dead outside her Baghdad home in what appears to be an assassination, according to Iraqi security officials. An unidentified assailant shot the popular influencer in her car in the Zayouna district, a security official said, requesting anonymity.

The attacker, who arrived on a motorbike, posed as a food delivery person and pretended to be making a delivery before shooting dead Fahad, another security official said. A second woman was also injured in the deadly attack, the Al Hurra news agency reported. The Interior Ministry of Iraq has since set up a "specialist work team" to look into the circumstances surrounding Fahad's assassination.

Shot Dead in Front of Everyone

Om Fahad
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The online celebrity had gained recognition for her cheerful TikTok videos, featuring herself dancing to Iraqi music while wearing form-fitting attire. However, she had lately gotten embroiled in a dispute with influencer Dalia Naeem, also known as 'Iraqi Barbie' due to her extensive use of plastic surgery.

According to the BBC, Naeem had allegedly threatened to reveal Fahad's alleged relationship with security officials.

In February 2023, a court sentenced Fahad, whose real name is Ghufran Sawadi, to six months in jail for sharing "videos containing indecent speech that undermines modesty and public morality."

Her arrest was part of the Iraqi government's initiative to regulate social media content that was deemed to violate Iraqi "morals and traditions."

An interior ministry committee was formed to monitor TikTok, YouTube, and other platforms for clips it considered offensive.

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The ministry released a promotional video announcing, "This type of content is no less dangerous than organized crime," and urged the public to assist by reporting such content.

"It is one of the causes of the destruction of the Iraqi family and society."

Under Scrutiny

Following Fahad's sentencing, authorities have reported the arrests of several influencers. Another TikTok influencer, who goes by the online name Assal Hossam, received a harsher sentence of two years in prison shortly after Fahad's sentencing.

Iraqi Barbie
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Some of her videos showed her wearing a tight military uniform.

Despite Iraq's return to a semblance of normality after years of war and sectarian conflict following the 2003 US invasion, civil liberties for women, sexual minorities, and other groups remain restricted in the conservative society.

Mustafa Saadun of the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights noted that the Iraqi state bases its campaign on vague and elastic terminology, such as "public morals" and "indecent exposure."

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Saadun warned that such vague terms are open to interpretation, posing a risk for people who have not committed any wrongdoing to be arrested.

In 2018, model and influencer Tara Fares was fatally shot by gunmen in Baghdad.

Amnesty International released a critical report on human rights in Iraq last year, citing the crackdown on "indecent content" and warning that authorities persist in attacking freedom of expression and implementing new laws to further restrict this right.