I spoke to the women risking their lives to join the Iraq revolution – and this is what they want

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Balsam Mustafa


Feeding the poor and needy is an act that draws us closer to Allah. We earn His forgiveness, mercies and blessings through this act of charity.

“Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah?s cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. (Bukhari)


Protestors in Iraq have once again defied the threat of violence to join mass anti-government demonstrations across the country. Among thousands of citizens taking to the streets to demand an overhaul of the political system are women. After decades of war, violence and sanctions that taken their toll on women in this patriarchal society, it is a remarkable development.

Women have been marginalised and silenced by conservative Islamists for too long and now they have decided to finally make themselves heard. Outraged by the brutal crackdown of unarmed protestors and the horrifying footage of their killings, women have decided enough is enough.

“We want a true homeland – a secular state. We want our money back”, demanded Mariam, a 23-year-old protestor from Baghdad.


Noor, a 20-year-old protestor from Maysan, said she decided to take part in the uprising because she was never satisfied with the status quo: “I can never accept to be ruled by figures whose affiliations are with other countries, following their agendas and self-interests. The true desire in a free homeland is the main reason I have taken to the streets.”

The fact that the demonstrations were leaderless and unaffiliated with any party encouraged other girls to make that decision. Huda, a 29-year-old environmental activist from Baghdad, first feared that the protests could be hijacked like previous years but she was reassured when she realised that this wave of protests did not follow any political agenda.

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