Young Woman Who Left Islam Killed in Iraq

Outspoken convert was preparing to be baptized.

Main square in Erbil, in northern Iraq’s region of Kurdistan. (Askgudmundsen, Creative Commons)

Main square in Erbil, in northern Iraq’s region of Kurdistan. (Askgudmundsen, Creative Commons)

(Morning Star News) – A young woman preparing to be baptized in Erbil, Iraq last week was instead killed in a possible “honor” killing for converting to Christianity, with Muslim family members reportedly suspected, according to local media.

The body of Eman Sami Maghdid, 20, was found on March 7 bound with tape and discarded among the vacant, sandy fields surrounding Erbil International Airport, in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region, according to local media reports.

She had been stabbed multiple times, Asia News reported.

Police suspected her family was connected to the killing, according to local media. Arabic-language media reported that Maghdid’s father is a prominent local mosque leader (imam). Her uncle was taken into custody in connection with the slaying, but it was unclear if he was charged or merely questioned.

Reports were conflicting about the possible arrest of another relative.

A few weeks before she was killed, she had announced her conversion to Christianity on one of her social media accounts, according to Middle East Concern, a religious freedom advocacy group.

Maghdid, who went by the Christian moniker Maria, enjoyed a wide following across several social media sites where she extolled the values of equal rights and women’s freedom to almost 50,000 followers.

She had not only put her faith in Christ but also had been a longstanding, outspoken critic of Islam. Forced into an arranged marriage when she was 12, she somehow was able to flee the marriage after four years. Maghdid showed her break with Islam by appearing in some videos smoking cigarettes or dressed in outfits considered immodest in many Islamic countries, and she appeared in some of her videos wearing a cross on a necklace.

Maghdid also sang Christian hymns on a video on Tik Tok, according to another advocacy group.

Iraq was ranked 14th on Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. While many Christians in Iraq face intolerance and persecution at the hands of militant Islamic groups and non-Christian leaders, they also face opposition from government leaders and family, the WWL report states.

“Christians from a Muslim background experience most pressure from their families,” the report states. “They often keep their faith a secret, as they risk being threatened by family members, clan leaders and their local community. Converts risk losing their inheritance rights and the right or means to marry.”

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