In the week that International Women"s Day was celebrated, news emerged of a Kurdish female convert from Islam to Christianity being found murdered in northern Iraq. Middle East Concern reported on 10 March 2022 that a few weeks before her body was found on 7 March, the young woman had announced on social media
that she had become a Christian. The report also stated that she was preparing for baptism. According to Asia News reporting in more detail on 9 March 2022: "It appears that she was punished by her family for leaving Islam
, specifically for being emancipated and embracing the Christian religion; in short, she was "˜guilty" of apostasy. - Her murder took place near the Erbil international airport, not far from Ankawa, the predominantly Christian district of Erbil." Both her uncle and brother were reportedly involved in the murder.
World Watch Research analyst Henriette Kats states that it is a well-known fact that violence against women is a problem in Iraq and the surrounding region: "However, it is not often that the murder of a convert is reported in the media. Iraqi Kurdistan is known to be relatively tolerant of dissent, although there are signs that this tolerance is waning. The reports point to the uncle"s and brother's involvement in the murder, confirming that family is one of the key drivers of persecution of converts in the region. According to radical Islamic teaching, the punishment for apostasy from Islam is death. However, the laws of Iraqi Kurdistan allow a change of religion and several Muslim, Christian and government leaders have condemned the murder. It now remains to be seen how the judicial authorities will deal with this matter, especially as the regional government likes to present itself to the West as being democratic and tolerant of non-Islamic religions in the area."