Iraqis ridicule Shia leader’s calls for gender segregation during protests

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Hundreds of Iraqis took to social media on Sunday to ridicule a prominent Shia political leader for his comments calling for gender segregation during protests.

Muqtada al-Sadr said that men and women should not mix in sit-in tents during demonstrations in a list of restrictions and rules posted on his Twitter page.

One Twitter user, who drew a mustache on her face, shared a video mocking al-Sadr’s comments with a caption that said, “In solidarity with the wave of ridicule of Moqtada the traitor, I participate in my own way.”

“There will be no mixing. Even my brothers, I won’t mix with them…The Sayed [al-Sadr] does not allow mixing [between men and women]. But for the Sayed it is acceptable that we steal, we bomb the world, we filter people out [by killing them] based on their name, do you remember?” she said in the video.

Another Twitter user posted a video of a woman leading a protest in Iraq’s Nasiriyah, with a chant praising the city’s men.

The caption on the video said, “The Sayed: It is not permissible for men and women to mix, and Nasiriyah responds.”

Rasha al-Aqeedi, an Iraqi journalist, shared a GIF of Iraqis inside a sit-in tent in Baghdad, with the caption “Muqtada al Sadr: men and women shouldn’t mix. Baghdad’s youth: Hold our chai and cigarettes, habibi”.

Iraqi men also launched their own social media campaign on Facebook, sharing photos of themselves with headscarves, jokingly disguising themselves as women, to poke fun at the leader’s statement that men and women should not mix during protests.

Almost 550 Iraqis have been killed in anti-government demonstrations since protests erupted in Baghdad and southern cities across the country in October 2019.

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